EAGAN, Minn. — This group is led by perhaps the best one-two punch at their position in the NFL.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have evolved from unheralded players to stars amongst their peers in the league.
While that duo draws most of the attention from opposing defenses, there should be a battle for the third spot during training camp. And don’t count out a handful of rookies try to snag a spot on the team, too.
Returning players: Stacy Coley, Stefon Diggs, Cayleb Jones, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell
New Additions: Jeff Badet, Chad Beebe, Tavarres King, Korey Robertson, Jake Wieneke, Kendall Wright, Brandon Zylstra
Stat from 2017: Diggs and Thielen ranked among the league’s best at contested catches in 2017. According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs led the NFL with a contested catch rate of 64 percent. Thielen was sixth in the league at 51.7 percent, making the Vikings the only team in the NFL to have two wide receivers in the top 10 in this metric.
From the Position Room: Minnesota’s wide receivers were a bit busy during offseason practices. Not only did they have to learn a new offense under Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo, but the unit also had to click with new quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Thielen and Diggs are set at the top spots in the room, but a handful of other players will also push for significant playing time in 2018. The Vikings brought in Wright and King as free agents. Treadwell and Coley will also look to take the next step in their young careers.
The Vikings also added a pair of Minnesota natives in Brandon Zylstra and Jake Wieneke. Cayleb Jones returns after spending the 2017 season on the practice squad.
“It is a very healthy competition. There is a lot of candidates in the 3, 4, 5 spot,” Hazell said. “You know you have Stacy Coley, who unfortunately had a little bit of an injury this spring, who was really doing a good job the first couple of days.
“You got Brandon Zylstra, you got [King] coming out. There is a thick group of players right there,” Hazell added. “[Wright] is in that group. He is the oldest guy in the room, so he has got some experience in there as a veteran … a 28-year-old guy that has been in the league for 7 years.”
“I make sure that every day I get better and learn from other people as well. I think that’s something I’ve carried over the last few years … just taking little things from everybody else’s games. There are so many things I’ve learned from Stefon and other guys that have been around here to try and implement into my game. I think that is what makes our receiver group so fun, is that we have a bunch of guys that want to learn, they want to play well and they’re willing to sacrifice things to make the team better.”
— Thielen on his success over the past two seasons
“I lean on a bunch of the receivers. Adam, obviously, Diggs, Treadwell. I’m constantly asking those guys questions to learn as much as I can before the season actually starts. Then you can start that much further ahead.”
— Zylstra on the vibe and rapport in the wide receivers room
Tickets are still available for 2018 Verizon Vikings Training Camp at the TCO Performance Center for select dates. Click here to access more information.
View the best images of Vikings wide receivers throughout the entire offseason program at the TCO Performance Center.