The Minnesota Vikings have only selected a wide receiver eight times with a first-round draft pick. That includes this year’s selection of Justin Jefferson. Here is a look at ranking the remaining seven.
The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a precarious situation at wide receiver. Two years ago, they could boast one of the best receiver tandems in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. In 2018, this dynamic duo combined for 215 receptions, 2,394 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns—making up 44.9 percent of the yards that offense generated.
Fast forward to 2020, Thielen is coming off a season he missed six games and Diggs has shuffled off to Buffalo searching for bigger stages or brighter spotlights that he does not need to share.
The Vikings’ current roster contains 12 wide receivers—one more than they had last year at this when they were in the search for the third option behind Diggs and Thielen. This year the goal will be to find someone to complement Thielen as Diggs did in the past. Of those 12 wide receivers, four of them join the Vikings as rookies—two of them selected in the NFL draft and two of them signed as UDFAs.
The top pick this year for Minnesota is wide receiver Justin Jefferson from LSU. Perhaps not since the team drafted Randy Moss in the first round of the 1998 NFL draft have the expectations been so high.
How successful have the Vikings been at selecting receivers in the first round? The top four from last year’s opening depth chart contained two undrafted receivers in Thielen and Chad Beebe with Diggs a fifth-round draft pick and Bisi Johnson making the team last year as a seventh-round selection.
Digging into Vikings’ franchise history, Jefferson becomes only the eighth wide receiver drafted in the first round. No doubt, for even the least casual Vikings’ fan to easily identify the best and worse of this list—seriously without even needing to break a sweat. Where the remaining receivers fall in the list may provide a bit more thought, and perhaps a surprise or two.
Here is my ranking of the Vikings’ wide receivers selected in the first round. The ranking used basic receiving statistics, with an emphasis on how long each receiver played in Minnesota.