The Vikings have their new No. 3 receiver for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Kendall Wright joins the team after the departures of Jarius Wright and Michael Floyd. The former Titans and Bears receiver will play behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Although the Vikings are still looking for a breakout from 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell, Wright provides a security blanket out of the slot. He’ll help Cousins attack underneath and convert third downs. Wright averaged 10.76 yards per catch on third downs in 2017. Despite reduced volume, he’s been efficient almost everywhere over his last three campaigns.
Minnesota led the NFL in third-down conversion percentage (44.72 percent) but ranked 19th (59.21 percent) in passing first-down percentage. This was a clever signing by the Vikings when you consider the other notable free agent WRs still available at this stage of free agency such as Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin, and Jordan Matthews.
WRIGHT’S CAREER PRODUCTION
The former first-round pick out of Baylor made an immediate impact during his first two NFL seasons.
Wright managed his only 1,000-yard season in 2013, and his usage declined along with his health over the subsequent years. He only played in 49 out of a possible 64 games from 2014 to 2017 due to injuries.
2017 was Wright’s first 16-game season since his age-24 campaign. Even with the Chicago WR corps decimated by injuries, Wright ran 290 of his 409 routes out of the slot and generated 41 receptions for 393 yards. Wright can also help the Vikings with yards after the catch. Diggs and Thielen combined for 753 yards after the catch in last season. Wright accumulated 548 during his breakout 2013 season.
OPPORTUNITY IN MINNESOTA
New Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo does not have a shortage of receiving options in Minnesota, but the peripheral WRs didn’t siphon much volume last year. Jarius Wright and Laquon Treadwell only accounted for 4.8 targets per game.
The Vikings signing of Kendall Wright suggests that the team does not have confidence in former 1st round pick Laquon Treadwell taking a big step forward this season as the No. 3 receiver. @RotoViz— Moody (@EricNMoody) March 30, 2018
This is the type of target volume Wright can expect to see in Minnesota. He has never threatened defenses vertically (11.4 career yards per catch), but DeFilippo has the option of moving Wright and the other WRs around the formation to confuse opponents. Wright is worth taking a flier on late in fantasy drafts. He is unlikely to garner much attention from defensive coordinators game planning for the Vikings.
What was most useful for you? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out to me via Twitter @EricNMoody.