5 receivers that can replace Adam Thielen for the Vikings in 2023

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) DeAndre Hopkins
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) DeAndre Hopkins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) K.J. Osborn /

K.J. Osborn

Thielen’s release and the Vikings’ cap situation suggest that this could be a case of “Next Man Up.” If the Vikings want to replace Thielen internally, K.J. Osborn is the most likely player to benefit next season.

Osborn has performed well as a third receiver, racking up 110 passes for 1,305 yards over the past two seasons. He has also stepped up when given the opportunity, including a 10-catch, 157-yard game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14.

But there are other signs that point to Osborn being nothing more than a third receiver. If we remove Osborn’s game against the Colts as well as his Week 18 performance against the Chicago Bears, he caught just 45 passes for 376 yards. He also had just 1.08 yards per route run which was tied with Thielen for 83rd among qualifying receivers.

It’s possible has reached his ceiling as a No. 3 option in the passing game, but the Vikings may try him as a cost-effective solution in order to throw their money elsewhere. Like many positions on the roster, they could do worse, but it might benefit the Vikings to at least find some insurance.