Which newcomer emerges as the biggest surprise?
Leaving Justin Jefferson out of this conversation for now, mainly because of the high expectations associated with being a first-round draft pick, along with how low Laquon Treadwell set the bar as the most recent first-round wide receiver selected by the Vikings.
In franchise history, the Minnesota Vikings have drafted 51 wide receivers in the fifth round or later. Only 20 of them ever registered a reception in the NFL. Bisi Johnson, one of two seventh-round wide receivers selected last season, is the most recent from this list. Stefon Diggs, a fifth-round pick in 2015, tops the list with 365 receptions in five seasons.
The Vikings added another fifth-round pick at wide receiver this year selecting K.J. Osborn from the University of Miami. Osborn played three seasons at the University of Buffalo before transferring to the University of Miami. His best season came as a junior when he caught 53 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bulls.
The Vikings also signed UDFA’s Quartney Davis from Texas A&M and Dan Chisena from Penn State. According to Walter Football’s wide receiver ranking, they projected Davis as a fourth to sixth-round selection, actually ranking him ahead of Osborn. However, they also point out that Davis had a disappointing season and should have remained in school for his senior year.
According to the Vikings website, Chisena transitioned from track playing only two seasons of football and catching only 14 passes—although Sports Reference.com he only caught three passes. No matter, the best chance he has of making the team will be as a special teams player and not as a wide receiver.
So after excusing Jefferson from this list, and projecting Chisena’s best option being on special teams, that leaves this as a two-person competition between Osborn and Davis. After not being drafted, Davis should come into camp with something to prove, and with the ability to learn from another undrafted wide receiver on the team, look for him to turn a few heads during training camp. It will not hurt that he also has a slight size advantage over Osborn.