Which Wide Receiver Works for Minnesota?


It’s no secret that the Minnesota Vikings will be looking to draft a Wide Receiver in the upcoming NFL draft.  The problem is that the Vikings are a team that is very high on morality, character and intelligence.  Here is a list of some of the players with a first to second round draft grade and the issues surrounding them:

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (24) laughs while waiting to do the vertical jump during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Cordarrelle Patterson – Tennessee

Patterson was widely criticized by scouts for giving a very poor impression at his combine and pro day interviews.  The worries about his professionalism and intelligence only got worse after he reportedly scored an 11 on the Wonderlic Test.  Many draft experts worry that more complex playbooks may be too complicated for Patterson to comprehend.  Teams should also be concerned that Patterson’s drops could be more of a mental issue than a physical one.  He is very raw in terms of route running and finding ways to get open when plays break down.

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin runs with the ball after making a catch during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tavon Austin – West Virginia

Austin would be an excellent replacement for Percy Harvin in the slot.  The problem with that situation is that the Vikings already have Jarius Wright to fill that hole.  Also, we may see the newly acquired Greg Jennings rotate into the slot every now and then.  Teams may also be concerned about Austin’s size and durability at the NFL level.  In addition to those concerns, he also reportedly scored a 7 on the Wonderlic Test.  His small hands and tendency to rely on juke moves are also concerning.  He also looks for the home run play too often rather than taking safer short yardage gains.

Dec. 31, 2012; El Paso, TX, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Robert Woods (2) is tackled by members of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defense during the second half during the Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. The Yellow jackets beat the Trojans 21-7. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Woods – USC

Robert Woods doesn’t impress with his measurables.  He doesn’t have elite size, speed, or strength.  He could have a major problem with getting pushed off routes because of his lack of strength.  Woods has a bad habit of pushing off to get open.   He has battled ankle injuries his entire career.  Running backwards to elude defenders won’t work as well at the NFL level as it did in college.

October 27, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; California Golden Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen (21) catches a touchdown pass during the second half against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah defeated California 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan Allen – University of California

The major concern with Keenan Allen is his nagging knee injury.  He missed the last 3 games of his college career with this injury and has had it checked multiple times since then at the NFL Combine and Combine followups.  He doesn’t have elite straight-line speed and lacks the elusiveness to make defenders miss tackles.  He struggles to make catches in traffic and it often results in dropped passes. His inability to prove that his knee has healed has raised a lot of red flags around the league and his slower than expected 40 yard dash time at his pro day made those concerns even bigger.  If he could have proven that he was back to 100%, he could have been a potential top-10 pick at this year’s NFL draft.

DeAndre Hopkins – Clemson

Dec 31, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (6) catches a touchdown pass over LSU Tigers safety Eric Reid (1) in the second half in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Clemson won 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Hopkins has a lean torso to go with average height and build.  He won’t break a lot of tackles and will have to get stronger to be an effective Wide Reciever at the NFL level.  Hopkins also has a tendency to try to catch the ball with his body rather than his hands, which could be a problem, especially since sometimes he tries to make a move before he has the ball fully secured.  He won’t win races against corners based on his speed alone.   It has also been revealed that his was the room that was vandalized at the NFL Combine, bringing his character into question although he claims he had checked out of the room prior to the incidents.

With five of the top Wide Receivers having major health or character issues, are the Vikings willing to gamble on one of them with one of their picks in the first two rounds?  If so, who do you think the Vikings should gamble on and why?  Leave your answer in the comments below.