5 questions left for the Vikings after the 2020 NFL Draft

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Bisi Johnson /

Who will step up behind Jefferson and Thielen?

For years, the Vikings have been begging someone to step up behind their top two receivers. While Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs were one of the best receiving duos in the NFL, Minnesota couldn’t find a consistent threat to help take some of the pressure off these two.

With Diggs gone, the Vikings have replaced him with rookie Justin Jefferson, who was the team’s top pick in this year’s NFL Draft. But a lot of the questions about what’s behind Minnesota’s top two receivers still remain.

Bisi Johnson is the one receiver with the most to gain next year as he had a solid rookie campaign in 2019 with 31 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers should have been bigger when Thielen went down with a hamstring injury, Johnson showed enough that he could be pushed into a bigger role when needed.

The Vikings also added to their wide receiver room with the selection of K.J. Osborn in the draft and the free-agent signing of Tajae Sharpe earlier this offseason. However, Osborn projects more as the team’s punt returner and Sharpe has never eclipsed 600 yards in a single season since entering the NFL in 2016.

The good news is that while a third receiver hasn’t stepped up for Minnesota yet, three-receiver sets aren’t as frequent for them as they logged an NFL-low 18 percent usage rate in 2019. The bad news is that Thielen and Jefferson will probably get double-teamed if the Vikings can’t find a consistent third target, meaning someone has to step up.

In the end, the answer could come from the tight end position where Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. were asked to mostly block in 2019 but still combined for 75 catches, 678 yards, and eight touchdowns.