Vikings 2019: Way too early 53-man roster projection

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen - Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen /

Wide Receivers (5)

  • Starters: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen
  • Backups: Laquon Treadwell, Chad Beebe, Olabisi Johnson

The good news here is that the Vikings have two of the best receivers in the NFL that they can rely upon to be Cousins’ top targets for the foreseeable future. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen racked up 2,394 yards and 18 touchdowns between them in 2018 and with Thielen signing a big contract extension, neither of them are going anywhere for the next four seasons.

The bad news is that the Vikings’ wide receiver corps remains largely unchanged from a year ago. After having multiple opportunities to take Hakeem Butler, Kelvin Harmon or D.K. Metcalf, general manager Rick Spielman waited until the seventh round to draft his first wide receiver and both of them project as wild cards to make the roster.

An interesting domino to fall here will be the status of Laquon Treadwell. After three teeth-pulling seasons with the Vikings, the former first-round pick had his 2020 option declined which means his tenure in Minnesota could be coming to an end.

The issue here is the money. If Treadwell is released, the Vikings will eat roughly $3.1 million of dead cap, but if they find a trade partner, they’ll clear up $1.3 million on the salary cap with $1.8 million in dead cap (numbers via Spotrac).

It’s one thing to trade a guy, but the Vikings are going to hope that one of their other receivers step up to make trading Treadwell feasible. Chad Beebe was promoted from the practice squad late in 2018, but fell victim to a hamstring injury before he could make an impact. Brandon Zylstra is not Adam Thielen and seventh-round picks Olabisi Johnson and Dillon Mitchell will likely be battling for one spot. If that’s the case, Johnson gets the nod due to his experience on special teams at Colorado State.