Some Minnesota Vikings players gave their front office a little elbow nudge to make a roster move this week. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson and cornerback Cam Dantzier both played their college football at LSU and made their pitch for another former Tiger to become a member of the team — Odell Beckham Jr.
Jefferson and Dantzier warmed up on Sunday prior to the Vikings’ Week 9 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, both wearing “Free Odell” T-shirts.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Cleveland Browns will release Beckham on Monday, and he is expected to clear waivers on Tuesday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Beckham wants to finish the 2021 season with a postseason contender.
Even with the Vikings’ record dropping below .500 following a heartbreaking home loss to Cooper Rush and the Dallas Cowboys, they’re still in good position to make a run at the playoffs. They are one game behind the Carolina Panthers for the No. 7 seed in the NFC. An addition to the Vikings’ already deep wide receiver corps would help with their postseason push, but Beckham may not want to go from one team hanging at the bottom of the playoff picture to another. There are some serious playoff contenders, however, that with the addition of Beckham might be able to propel their team into conference championship contention.
The Saints have already shown a strong interest in acquiring Beckham, who grew up in the area. They tried to trade for him prior to the trade deadline, but the Browns were not satisfied with what the Saints offered in return.
Now the Saints don’t have to offer anything but a contract for the local star to return home. Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris have been solid this season, but as the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers with Beckham at No. 1, in addition to Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram at running back and Sean Payton calling the plays, this is an extremely talented offensive group.
The downside for Beckham is that the Saints will need every bit of that talent to overcome their quarterback room. With Jameis Winston down for the season with an ACL injury and Drew Brees on the Sunday Night Football set, Payton will have to dig into the depths of his offensive genius to get all the production that he can out of Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill.
The Ravens rely on their ground attack because their quarterback is arguably the most dynamic runner in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and he will likely rush for 1000-plus yards for a third consecutive season. Jackson is also dynamic as a thrower from the pocket, but up to this point in his career, his most dependable pass catcher has been tight end Mark Andrews.
Their receiving corps is looking better with 6-foot-2, 210-pound rookie Rashod Bateman returning from injury to join speedster Marquise Brown. Adding Beckham to the Ravens would give Jackson a true No. 1 target at wide receiver for the first time in his career, and Beckham’s speed would be of great use on jet sweeps in the running game. With Brown, Beckham, and Jackson on the same roster, defenses might start playing their safeties as deep against the Ravens as they do against the Chiefs.
This would be a Bill Belichick special. A highly talented player becomes available after being underutilized by his previous team and the Patriots take advantage — it almost sounds like the Randy Moss pickup in 2007.
Quarterback Mac Jones is not 2007 Tom Brady, but the Patriots roster is in a similar position. They’re not that far removed from their last Super Bowl appearance, but the offense is in desperate need of a playmaker. The Patriots’ leading receiver is Jakobi Meyers with 45 catches, but he’s averaging only 9.5 yards per reception and has scored no touchdowns.
If Beckham wants to be the focal point of an offense, the Patriots would be the best opportunity for him. The Patriots’ most productive offensive player is running back Damien Harris with his 4.4 yards per carry and six rushing touchdowns. Beckham will have to deal with the ups and downs of a rookie quarterback, but he will get all the targets that his heart desires, from a well-coached team that has lacked real offensive talent at the skill positions since Rob Gronkowski was healthy. Also, a strong playoff run with the Patriots could result in a big payday for Beckham in 2022.