5 emergency WR options if the Vikings lose Justin Jefferson to injury in 2024

Houston Texans WR Robert Woods
Houston Texans WR Robert Woods / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Last season, Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson was sidelined for multiple games due to injury for the first time since he entered the NFL in 2020.

Jefferson suffered a hamstring injury during the Vikings' Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and it forced him to miss Minnesota's next seven games. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the All-Pro wide receiver was just one of many notable players on the team's roster to miss significant time in 2023 due to an injury.

So, what if Jefferson goes down with an injury again next season? Who might be some of the emergency options for Minnesota to turn to if their top receiver has to miss multiple games for the second year in a row?

Emergency WR options if the Minnesota Vikings lose Justin Jefferson to injury in 2024

Robert Woods

Current Team: Houston Texans
2023 Stats: 40 catches, 426 yards, 1 touchdown

If Jefferson ends up being sidelined for several matchups again next season, Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell would probably like to add someone to the team's wide receiver room who is familiar with his offensive scheme, and Robert Woods is a guy who would fall into that category.

Before spending the 2022 campaign with the Tennessee Titans and then signing with the Texans last year, Woods was a member of the Los Angeles Rams for five seasons, including 2020 and 2021 with O'Connell as his offensive coordinator. Woods is a bit on the older side at 32-years-old, but he's someone who likely wouldn't take long to adjust to Minnesota's offense.

DeVante Parker

Current Team: No team (retired)
2023 Stats (with the New England Patriots): 33 catches, 394 yards, no touchdowns

Back in May, DeVante Parker decided to retire from the NFL after nine seasons in the league. Parker had originally signed a contract to suit up for the Philadelphia Eagles this year, but he opted to step away from the game instead.

Players have come out of retirement many times throughout NFL history, and if the Vikings lose Jefferson for multiple games next season, it might be worth it to see if Parker still has any interest in playing football again.

Reuniting with Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores might even be enough to convince Parker to unretire, as he had some of the best years of his career when he was with the Miami Dolphins, and Flores was his head coach.

K.J. Osborn

Current Team: New England Patriots
2023 Stats: 48 catches, 540 yards, 3 touchdowns

After spending the last four seasons with the Vikings, K.J. Osborn took on a new adventure earlier this year when he signed with the Patriots. The problem is, there are likely going to be a lot of New England receivers battling for targets next season, and Osborn could be the odd man out.

Similar to what the Kansas City Chiefs did last year when they made a trade with the New York Jets to re-acquire their former wide receiver Mecole Hardman, if Osborn isn't really being utilized by the Patriots next season, Minnesota would probably be able to make a small trade to bring him back and help make up for the loss of Jefferson.

N'Keal Harry

Current Team: Minnesota Vikings
2023 Stats: 9 appearances, zero targets

This might be the simplest option for the Vikings if Jefferson were to go down with a notable injury, as all they would have to do is convert N'Keal Harry from a tight end back into a wide receiver.

Harry has been in the middle of switching from receiver to tight end this offseason. But if Minnesota loses their No. 1 pass-catcher for multiple matchups in 2024, they might ask Harry to switch back to his old position in order to avoid having to give up any assets to acquire someone from another team.

Adam Thielen

Current Team: Carolina Panthers
2023 Stats: 103 catches, 1,014 yards, 4 touchdowns

Any speculation about Adam Thielen ever returning to the Vikings has definitely picked up during the last few weeks with the clips of him working out with Minnesota rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy surfacing online.

Unlike last season with the Panthers, Thielen will be competing for targets in 2024, as Carolina not only traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Diontae Johnson earlier this year, but they also used a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to select former South Carolina pass-catcher Xavier Legette.

If Thielen is unhappy with his usage in the Panthers' offense next season and a Jefferson injury causes the Vikings to be in need of another receiver, it wouldn't be shocking if Minnesota looked into reuniting with the kid from Detroit Lakes.

More Vikings News and Analysis