The Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with Mike Wallace after the receiver chose to not restructure his contract, which leaves the team without a No. 1 receiver for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Stefon Diggs, Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson are all still on the team, but the sense is that the team will address the position this offseason.
So far the Vikings haven’t been tied to any big-name free-agent receivers and the top ones – Alshon Jeffery, Travis Benjamin, Marvin Jones and Rishard Matthews have already signed.
Jeffery and Benjamin were thought of as being the two best receivers in this year’s free-agent class, and while there are still adequate players on the board, there may not be a No. 1-type receiver. For that reason, it is starting to seem more and more likely that the Vikings will draft a receiver in the first round of this year’s draft.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the Vikings taking TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson in his latest mock draft, which was released even before the news of Wallace’s release broke.
Kiper discussed Doctson in length during a conference call this week and it seems like he still believes that the receiver is a borderline first-round pick. But the performance he put on at the NFL Scouting Combine certainly helped out his draft stock.
“He’s long and he’s very athletic, and he’s tough,” Kiper explained. “He’s 6-2, he’s 202 (pounds), ran a 4.50. I thought he’d run 4.55, ran a little bit better than I thought he would. Did 14 reps, you can see a lot of receivers did 13, 10, 11; he did 14. And he had 41 vertical. ... To me, his numbers across the board were probably as good or better than you thought. Better vertical than I thought, better 40 than I thought, so even though it’s not a 4.40 a 4.50 is good enough.”
The draft analyst went on to explain there is more to Doctson than his combine performance, though. The thing that makes him special is what he is able to do out on the field in pads and with other players surrounding him.
“The way he controls his speed, the way he’s quick out of his break, the way he goes out and gets the football at any point on the field – down the field or across the middle – he’s tough,” Kiper said. “He’s got great hand-eye coordination. He’s the centerfielder that tracks the ball to the warning track as good as anybody, so to me he’s first round and you’ve got plenty of teams.”
The Vikings were one of the teams that Kiper listed as a possible landing spot for Doctson, but he also listed off the Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. Of those teams, the only one to select before the Vikings are the Texans, who pick one spot ahead of them – Kiper has them selecting Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller.
There is also the possibility that a team could trade up ahead of the Vikings and Texans to select Doctson. But if that does not happen and the TCU product falls to No. 23, it seems as though it would be a very logical choice for the Vikings to make.
He has been a player that has been tied to the Vikings since mock drafts first started to come out this offseason and he was one of the players the Vikings met with at the combine. There is interest there on the Vikings’ side and Doctson would fill a clear need. The only questions now are if he will even be available when the Vikings pick at No. 23 and whether or not they choose to go receiver in the first round.