5 teams DJ Chark could leave the Detroit Lions for in free agency
3. Minnesota Vikings
The biggest problem right now for the Vikings is salary cap space. As in, they currently sit almost $23.5 million over the number for 2023. So they have some work to do there, and it seems long-time wide receiver Adam Thielen will be gone this offseason. Cutting or trading him would go a long way toward getting cap-compliant, and K.J. Osborn would then be in line to take over as the No. 2 receiver behind Justin Jefferson.
Drafting a wide receiver fairly early or giving Jalen Nailor a long look for a bigger role would be on the table for the Vikings too, if only due to cost as they maneuver to get under the cap and field a viable roster.
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus honed in on Chark as a free agent target for the Vikings.
"Minnesota has a very solid trio of wide receivers in place, but Adam Thielen is starting to show signs of aging and K.J. Osborn is entering the final year of his contract in 2023, so Chark represents a solid depth option who perhaps earns himself a bigger role in 2024 and beyond. Chark was also teammates at LSU in 2017 with Vikings superstar Justin Jefferson. Chark’s 14.1-yard average depth of target and 14.5 yards per reception over the past four seasons are both top-20 marks among wide receivers. He would add another element to the Vikings’ high-flying passing attack."
Judd Zulgad of Vikings Wire and SKOR North recently mentioned Chark as a possible free agent target for the Vikings, while also mentioning that wide receiver may fall down their list of priorities in free agency.
"The 6-foot-4 Chark, who will turn 27 in September, would provide the Vikings with a vertical threat. He averaged 16.7 yards on 30 receptions with three touchdowns this season but figures to be pursued by multiple clubs"
The Vikings could clearly use a vertical threat of Chark’s ilk. The questions are if they will notably dip into the free agent market at wide receiver, and if they’ll be able to make a competitive offer. Spotrac’s projected market value for Chark, $9.5 million per year on a three-year deal, would surely be too rich for the Vikings (and any other team with interest?). But it also feels unlikely to be met by the reality of what he gets on the open market, even if supply and demand drives up his cost.