With the NFL Scouting Combine in the rearview mirror, 2020 free agency is just around the corner. That period will officially start at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 18 when the new league year begins.
Over the next two weeks, Eric Smith, Lindsey Young and I will dive into Minnesota's current roster status by position. We'll offer a refresher on which Vikings are scheduled to become free agents, where potential needs might be and note players from other teams that are set to become free agents.
We're continuing the series with receivers …
Bralon Addison, Chad Beebe, Davion Davis, Stefon Diggs, Alexander Hollins, Bisi Johnson, Dillon Mitchell, Adam Thielen
Addison (with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger Cats): 95 receptions, 1,236 yards, 7 touchdowns; 36 rushes for 218 yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Beebe: 2 receptions, 70 yards; 7 punt returns for 46 yards (6.6 yards per return); 1 kickoff return for 13 yards
Davis: appeared briefly in 2 games
Diggs: 63 receptions, 1,130 yards, 6 touchdowns; 5 rushes for 61 yards
Hollins: 2 receptions for 46 yards
Johnson: 31 receptions, 294 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 rush for 6 yards
Mitchell: practice squad
Thielen: 30 receptions, 418 yards, 6 touchdowns; 4 rushes for 6 yards and a touchdown in 10 games
Diggs and Thielen remain one of the top receiving tandems, despite Thielen missing six games for the first time in his career and an offense that tilted more toward the running game than in 2018.
Diggs delivered a career-best 1,130 yards through the air, which catapulted his yards per reception to 17.9 and his yards per target to 12.0 in his fifth pro season. The average of his yards per reception was 11.6, and the average of his yards per target was 7.9 over the course of his first four pro seasons.
View the top photos of Vikings WR Adam Thielen from the 2019 season.
SCHEDULED TO BECOME A FREE AGENT:
Waived during roster reductions, the 2016 first-round pick returned to the Vikings in Week 4 after Beebe's injury. He totaled nine receptions for 184 yards that included a 58-yard touchdown catch at Seattle.
The Vikings could try to enhance the production beyond Diggs and Thielen, whether that involves a player already on the roster taking another step forward or someone that is added through free agency or the draft.
Much of the 2019 offseason attention went to Beebe, who made plays throughout last spring and at training camp, but an ankle injury in Week 3 ended his second pro season.
Johnson (one of two WRs drafted along with Mitchell) quickly picked up Minnesota's system and showed versatility by being able to play multiple receiver spots. Undrafted rookies Hollins and Davis could also try to take a step forward this offseason.
View the best photos from Vikings team photographers of the wide receivers during the 2019 season.
WHO'S POTENTIALLY OUT THERE:
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling teamed up again this year to rate their top 101 potential free agents.
The following receivers are listed in order of their overall rankings: 2. Amari Cooper (DAL), 12. A.J. Green (CIN), 35. Robby Anderson (NYJ), 39. Emmanuel Sanders (SF), 78. Breshad Perriman (TB), 87. Demarcus Robinson (KC), 88. Randall Cobb (DAL), 97. Devin Funchess (IND).
According to NFL.com, other receivers set to become free agents who didn't crack the top 101 are (listed in order of 2019 team) as follows: Damiere Byrd and Pharoh Cooper (AZ), Justin Hardy (ATL), Chris Moore, Seth Roberts and De'Anthony Thomas (BAL), Isaiah McKenzie* and Robert Foster* (BUF), Chris Hogan and Jarius Wright (CAR), Taylor Gabriel (CHI), Rashard Higgins (CLE), Tavon Austin (DAL), Tim Patrick* (DEN), Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard* and Jake Kumerow(GB), Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers and Dontrelle Inman (IND), Keelan Cole_ (JAX), Travis Benjamin (LAC), Phillip Dorsett and Matthew Slater (NE), Ted Ginn (NO), Cody Latimer (NYG), Demaryius Thomas (NYJ), Dwayne Harris and Keelan Doss_ (OAK), Nelson Agholor (PHI), Kendrick Bourne and Jordan Matthews (SF), Josh Gordon, Jaron Brown, David Moore* and Malik Turner (SEA) and Tajae Sharpe (TEN).
* Restricted free agent
** Exclusive rights free agent
The status of Diggs and Thielen — and the Vikings financial commitments to the two players — lend to the assumption that the Vikings will not go after a big-ticket receiver in free agency.
As for the 37 players listed that didn't crack the top 101, 14 recorded 25 or more receptions in 2019.
Of the players who had at least 25 receptions, only Pharoh Cooper (75.8) and Sharpe (71.4) caught at least 70 percent of their targets. Cooper had just one drop, and Sharpe had zero.
Agholor recorded the most receptions with 39, but that was on 69 targets (catch percentage of 56.5).
Lazard led the group with 477 receiving yards, including 346 at the catch point, and 24 of his 35 receptions earned first downs.
Bourne and Dorsett tied for the lead among the group with five touchdown catches.
After a fantastic debut season with Chicago in 2018 (67 receptions for 688 yards and two receiving touchdowns), Gabriel missed seven games last season because of injuries. He finished with 29 receptions for 353 yards and four touchdowns (three scores occurred in one game).