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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Low-risk, high-reward: Why the Vikings should consider free agent receiver Marquess Wilson

By Matthew Coller

Marquess Wilson was the 236th player selected in the 2013 NFL draft, which normally would give him about a 0.1% chance of becoming a quality NFL contributor. But he isn’t your average seventh-round pick.

Wilson butted heads in college with Washington State head coach Mike Leach (imagine that), causing teams to be concerned about whether he would fit with NFL coaches. Not only did he survive four years on the Chicago Bears’ roster, but flashed talent as a deep threat, averaging 16.7 Yards Per Catch in 35 receptions over the past two seasons (his 2016 season was shortened due to injury).

The Vikings lost Cordarrelle Patterson to Oakland in free agency and can’t be sure what they’ll get from Laquon Treadwell next season. Head coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged the need for another receiver, especially a player who can go downfield.

“I do think we need some more receivers, yes,” Zimmer said in an interview with the Vikings’ flagship station. “I think it would be important for us to get some guys to stretch the field a little bit. That’s not saying I don’t feel good about the guys we have. But we lost a couple in free agency, and we’re going to have to add one or two, maybe.”

Wilson is 6-foot-3, 200-pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash and had an exceptional three-cone drill and vertical jump at the NFL Combine.

He spent the first year of his career on the bench, but saw action in 2014, catching 17 passes in seven games, then emerged as a deep threat in 2015 with 28 catches in 11 games, with 12 of those receptions coming on throws over 10 yards through the air.

While his 2016 was hindered by injury, Wilson went off against the Tennessee Titans, catching eight passes on 11 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s one of his catches on third down in which he shakes the Titans’ corner and picks up a first down.

Late in the fourth quarter, Wilson rose up to win a contested ball down the sideline.

It wasn’t a perfect game for Wilson as he wasn’t able to haul in a deep pass that was borderline catchable and dropped a throw in the end zone, but he also broke loose from a defender for a touchdown catch.

There are enough warts – injuries, history, lack of experience etc. – to consider Wilson a risky pickup. However, he is one of the only receivers left in free agency that has upside.

Free agents like Justin Hunter, Rod Streater and Brian Quick have proven to be mediocre options. Veteran Anquan Boldin would help the Vikings inside the red zone, but he only averaged 8.7 Yards Per Catch last season and is far too slow these days to be a deep threat.

The Vikings may be interested in Minnesota native Michael Floyd, who was cut by the Arizona Cardinals after an extreme DWI last season that resulted with him receiving house arrest. Floyd was picked up by the Patriots, but was not active for their Super Bowl win. He is considered a downfield receiver, but hasn’t had an overall high catch percentage and brings serious risk of another off-field incident.

Wilson might not be a sure thing, but his issues would likely make him attainable at a very reasonable price. Low-risk, potentially high reward.

The post Low-risk, high-reward: Why the Vikings should consider free agent receiver Marquess Wilson appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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