6 free-agent returners the Vikings could sign in 2020

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Kenjon Barner
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Kenjon Barner /
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(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) De’Anthony Thomas
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) De’Anthony Thomas /

De’Anthony Thomas

Here’s another former Oregon Duck whose NFL career hasn’t lived up to the promise that his college career showed.

In college, De’Anthony Thomas was an all-purpose weapon racking up tons of yardage on the ground and through the air. He was also the school’s primary return man and he ripped it up on a weekly basis. Some thought he’d go on to be the next Reggie Bush in the NFL.

The Kansas City Chiefs ended up drafting Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. They were going to use him in a similar fashion on offense and line him up outside as a receiver as well as in the backfield. They also planned on Thomas being their primary punt returner.

He did well as a return man, but never was quite the weapon they envisioned on offense. When the Chiefs landed Tyreek Hill two years later, Thomas’ role with the team began to shrink.

In October of 2018, he broke his leg and missed the majority of the season. He was released by Kansas City about a year later, but he was then picked up by the Baltimore Ravens.

Thomas has had 848 punt return yards in his career with one touchdown. As a kick returner, he’s totaled 1,588 yards and zero scores, but he has had three returns of over 40 yards.

He still has very good speed with good vision and he is twitchy. If the Vikings were to sign him, he not only would be the primary return man, he’d give them emergency depth at both running back and wide receiver.