Vikings have an atrocious history with free-agent wide receivers
By Adam Patrick
It has been a very long time since the Minnesota Vikings were able to get solid production out of a free-agent wide receiver they added in the offseason.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings announced the signing of free-agent wide receiver Brandon Powell, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams.
Powell isn’t a huge name, but Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell clearly believes he can potentially help his team out during the 2023 season.
Based on Minnesota’s recent past, however, Powell could also just end up becoming one of the latest failures in the team’s attempt to find wide receiver help in free agency
During the last few offseasons, the Minnesota Vikings have been terrible at finding free-agent wide receivers
For whatever reason, the Vikings have struggled to find wide receiver help in free agency during the last few years. Now, most of these signings were made by the old regime when Rick Spielman was the general manager. But Kwesi Adofo-Mensah also added to Minnesota’s free-agent receiver failures in 2022 during his first year as the team’s general manager.
Below is a list of all the free-agent wide receivers the Vikings have signed during the offseason since 2014 (undrafted free-agent rookies are not included).
- Albert Wilson (2022)
- Dede Westbrook (2021)
- Warren Jackson (2021)
- Tajae Sharpe (2020)
- Jordan Taylor (2019)
- Kendall Wright (2018)
- Tavarres King (2018)
- Mitch Mathews (2017)
- Michael Floyd (2017)
- Troy Stoudermire (2016)
- Ryan Whalen (2015)
- Lestar Jean (2014)
- Kamar Jorden (2014)
- Josh Cooper (2014)
- Andy Cruse (2014)
- Ty Walker (2014)
As one can see, this list is full of receivers that failed to make any sort of legitimate impact for Minnesota during their time with the team.
Many of them didn’t even end up making the Vikings’ final regular-season roster during the year that they were signed. Of the last seven free-agent wide receivers Minnesota has signed in the offseason (not including Powell), five of them failed to make it past the team’s final preseason cuts.
Out of these 16 free-agent receivers that the Vikings have signed since 2014, Dede Westbrook and Michael Floyd are the only guys to actually go on and catch a regular-season pass in a Minnesota uniform. Westbrook had 10 receptions for 68 yards and no touchdowns in 2021 and Floyd hauled in 10 passes for 78 yards and zero scores in 2017.
The last wide receiver that the Vikings signed in free agency during the offseason to catch a touchdown pass while with the team is Greg Jennings, who signed with Minnesota during the 2013 offseason.
Perhaps Adofo-Mensah can put an end to this embarrassing trend for the Vikings by adding a notable free-agent receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason. But based on Minnesota’s recent history with free-agent pass-catchers, don’t expect a move like that to happen.