Did the Minnesota Vikings add their next great wide receiver in the offseason? They are hoping that is the case when they selected LSU product Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Vikings are a team with a rich history of great receivers—and Jefferson could be next in line.
The Vikings have had the luxury of one of the best receiving duos in the league over the last few years in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. With Diggs now in Buffalo, the Vikings are hoping that Jefferson can take over as a solid No. 2 receiver.
All of the changes in Minnesota’s receiving room has made us think of the best wideouts in franchise history. Here are the top receivers that have ever played for the Vikings.
5. Jake Reed (1991-99, 2001)
Reed joined the Vikings in 1991, but it took him some time to break out. He played just one game as a rookie and did not record a catch. Over the next two years, Reed totaled just 11 catches and no touchdowns. When he finally did break out, it was in a big way.
The 1994 season began a stretch of four incredible years for Reed. He finished with 85 catches for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. Reed would go on to eclipse 1,100 yards in each of the four seasons. He set a career high with nine touchdowns in 1995. In 1996, Reed finished with 1,320 receiving yards. Beginning in 1994, his receiving yards totals went as followed; 1,175, 1,167, 1,320, 1,138. Over that span, Reed also caught a total of 26 touchdowns.
Reed ran into some injury problems in 1998 and 1999. He then spent one year with the New Orleans Saints before returning to the Vikings in 2001. Reed then flipped back to New Orleans for a season before retiring following the 2002 campaign. He currently ranks fourth all time on the Vikings’ receiving list with 6,433 yards.
4. Sammy White (1976-85)
White came to Minnesota in 1976 and was a part of some strong teams. During his 10-year tenure, White was apart of four division titles, five playoff appearances, four playoff victories, and a Super Bowl appearance in 1976.
Over his first two years in the NFL, White was named to the Pro Bowl. As a rookie, he finished with 51 catches for 906 yards and 10 touchdowns. He followed that up with 41 catches for 760 yards and nine touchdowns in 1977. White was a big-play machine that averaged 16.3 yards per reception for his career. His career high came in 1977 when he averaged 18.5 yards per catch. White’s best season came in 1981 when he logged career highs in catches with 66 and receiving yards with 1,001.
White currently ranks fifth all time in Vikings history with 6,400 receiving yards. He is also fourth in touchdowns with 50. White is fourth in touchdowns and 15th in games played. He was extremely efficient on the field and made an impact at all times.
3. Anthony Carter (1985-93)
Carter spent nine years in Minnesota and was productive immediately. As a rookie, Carter scored eight touchdowns followed by seven in his second season. Over the first two years of his career, carter averaged 18.6 yards per receptions. This skyrocketed in 1987.
Carter led the league in yards per catch that year at 24.3. In a divisional round win against the San Francisco 49ers, Carter would log 10 catches for 227 yards. This was his first of three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. In 1988, Carter finished with his best season with 72 catches for 1,225 yards and six touchdowns. He would go on to finish with over 1,000 yards over the next two years.
At Michigan, Carter was a big-time receiver that could make plays at will. He opted to play for the USFL out of college where that trend continued. Today, he is one of the top players in USFL history. Carter did not miss a beat when he joined the Vikings. He is currently third in franchise history with receiving yards at 7,636 and touchdowns with 52.
2. Cris Carter (1990-2001)
Carter was a fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1987 Supplemental Draft. His time with the Eagles was anything but impressive. He spent three years in Philly before being cut by Buddy Ryan. Carter later admitted that he was released due to struggling with substance abuse addiction. This decision by Ryan turned his life around and he went on to be signed by the Vikings.
This turned into an incredible move by Minnesota. It took Carter some time to get comfortable with the Vikings. His instincts season was pedestrian, but he logged 962 yards in 1991. It was not until 1993 that Carter broke out as an elite receiver. He would go on to make the Pro Bowl over the next eight seasons and was named to the All-Pro First Team twice.
Carter led the league in receptions in 1994 with 122. He added 1,256 yards and seven touchdowns. In the following year, Carter led the league in receiving touchdowns with 17. He would go on to do this again in 1997 and 1999, finishing with 13 in both years. Carter finished with 1,000 or more receiving yards in every season from 1994 to 2000. In 2001, Carter had his last great year with 73 catches for 871 yards. He would play just five game in 2002.
The NFL enshrined Carter in Canton in 2013. He is the Vikings’ all-time leader in receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383), and receiving touchdowns (110). Carter is the only Viking in history to have 1,000 catches, 10,000 yards, and 100 touchdowns. He is truly a legend in Minnesota and all around the NFL.
1. Randy Moss (1998-2004, 2010)
Moss was the second receiver taken in the 1998 NFL Draft. The Tennessee Titans opted for Kevin Dyson with the 16th pick, which allowed the Marshall product to fall to the Vikings at No. 21. All Moss would do is go on to have a Hall of Fame career and turn into one of the best receivers in league history.
It began right away. Moss was named first-team All-Pro as a rookie after leading the league with 17 touchdowns. He would finished with 69 catches for 1,313 yards. This was one of three All-Pro and five Pro Bowl nods in a Vikings uniform. Moss proved quickly that he was not a fluke. He finished with over 1,400 yards and double-digit touchdowns over the next two years. this includes 2000 where he led the league once again with 15 scores.
The 2002 season was Moss’ first with over 100 catches. He would do it two years in a row as he logged his best statistical season with the Vikings in 2003. Moss finished with 111 catches for 1,632 yards and 17 touchdowns that year. Over the first seven years of his career in Minnesota, Moss finished with 1,000 yards six times and double-digit touchdowns six times. He would go onto spend two years with the Oakland Raiders before spending four legendary years with the New England Patriots.
Moss still holds the single-season receiving touchdown record with 23. Over the course of his career, he led the NFL in touchdowns five times and has had 10 seasons with 1,000 or more yards. Moss is currently fourth on the NFL’s all-time receiving list and second in receiving touchdowns with 153. For the Vikings, Moss ranks second in yards with 9,316 and touchdowns with 92. He is one of the best receivers in NFL history and solidified himself as possibly the most dominant ever during his days with the Vikings.