Speed may be the identity many associate with the Vikings WR corps heading into 2015, but the group is determined to show it can be a well-rounded group equipped to help QB Teddy Bridgewater attack opposing defenses through the air. The group returns a total of five players last year who started a combined 22 games for the Vikings but it's also a group that has seen the addition of big-time playmaker Mike Wallace and fifth-round rookie Stefon Diggs.
Here's where the Vikings stand at WR heading into training camp...
Total going to camp: 11
Total on 2014 opening day roster: 5 (plus Jerome Simpson on suspended list)
Average age: 24
Average height: 6-1
Most experienced: Mike Wallace – 28 years old with 7 seasons
Rookies: 5 (DaVaris Daniels, Stefon Diggs, Isaac Fruechte, Jordan Leslie, Gavin Lutman)
Position Coach: George Stewart
Counting On Them
No player should enter training camp assuming their spot is secure, but entering the 2015 season it feels safe to assume the Vikings will parse out most of the offensive snaps to Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Wallace and Jarius Wright. Wallace is the only new name in that mix, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him lead this group in several categories. He has 15 TDs over the past two seasons and has the ability to post impressive yards/reception numbers. One interesting commonality among this group of players is their ability in the screen game. Watch for that to be a strength of this group's in 2015.
Don't Sleep On…
Adam Thielen. Vikings fans should know this by now, but Thielen is not just the fun story of a Minnesota native and Minnesota State product who caught on with his local pro team. Thielen is a legitimate contributor to the club, both on offense as a WR and on special teams in multiple phases. With deceptively great speed, crisp route running and reliable hands, Thielen may prove every bit as worthy of regular playing time as others in the group above.
Can You Digg It?
He hasn't stepped onto a NFL field for a game yet, but early reviews on rookie fifth-rounder Stefon Diggs are positive. His college tape showed a tremendous ability after the catch and he continued to demonstrate that trait during OTAs and the team's mandatory minicamp. If Diggs can carve out a role on special teams – likely as a returner or backup returner – then his chances of earning a spot on the final 53 only increase.
Best of the Rest?
Donte Foster, who spent last season on the practice squad, has shining moments in each practice and should flash quite a bit in training camp. There is also a former Golden Gopher in the mix – 6-3, 210-pounder and Caledonia, MN native Isaac Fruechte. Finally, give rookie Jordan Leslie credit for joining Wallace as the last members of the team off the practice field each day of OTAs.