The Minnesota Vikings entered the offseason with wide receiver as one of their top needs. The trade of Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks and subsequent signing of Greg Jennings in free agency has not changed that much, and with six picks in the first 120 selections in next week’s draft adding targets for quarterback Christian Ponder is still a high priority.
A lot of mock drafts have the Vikings using one of their two first-round picks on a wide receiver, but the position is fairly deep this year and they could address other notable needs (linebacker, defensive tackle) before adding another pass catcher.
Markus Wheaton had a big senior season at Oregon State, with 91 receptions for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns as he earned First Team All Pac-12 honors. He is now the school’s all-time leader in receptions with 227, surpassing notables like Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh with his breakout final season.
Could Wheaton be a fit for the Vikings? Here’s a look at his measurements, strengths and weaknesses.
Weight: 189 lbs.
– Is very quick off the snap; eats up cushion rapidly
– Has excellent straight-line speed
– Is a savvy route runner; shows good body control
– Tracks the ball in the air well; is able to adjust and contort his body to make catches
– Shows good lateral agility
– Is a willing blocker
– Is small and narrow-framed; needs to improve his functional strength
– Can be re-routed by physical cornerbacks
– Is not overly explosive after the catch
– Struggles with drops at times; lets the ball into his body
– Is inconsistent and underpowered as a blocker
If the Vikings seek a potential replacement for Harvin as their primary slot receiver, Wheaton is an excellent fit for that role. But they also need to add a receiver that can threaten defenses down the field, and he would fit that bill as well.
Wheaton is expected to be a second or third-round pick, and the Vikings have the 52nd and 83rd overall picks respectively in those rounds. Depending on how the first round shakes out for Minnesota, and there is speculation they want to move up, it would not be surprising if they have significant interest in Wheaton on the draft’s second day.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.