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Vikings WR Bolts for New Team in AFC

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Dan Chisena is headed home.

A Pennsylvania native, Chisena signed a reserve/futures contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, January 23, per the league transaction wire.

Chisena, 25, was a bubble candidate on the roster coming out of Penn State but made the team every year for his role as a special teams gunner. However, this past season, he appeared in just two games after playing in 25 games combined in the previous two seasons.

Standing 6-foot-3, Chisena clocked an unofficial 4.32 40-time and was considered a raw size-speed prospect after switching from track to football his junior season. He hoped to follow a similar path that Adam Thielen did, carving a role on special teams before becoming an eventual contributor on offense, however, Chisena looks to improve his chances in Pittsburgh.

Vikings Signed 2 WRs to Futures Deals Before Dan Chisena’s Departure

The writing was on the wall for Chisena’s departure after Minnesota passed on signing him among their reserve/futures deals.

The Vikings signed six players on January 16 to futures deals, including wide receivers Blake Proehl and Trishton Jackson, both of whom have not played a single preseason- or regular-season snap in their careers.

The wide receiver room pecking order entering the offseason is as follows: Justin Jefferson, Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, Jalen Nailor, Thomas Hennigan, Proehl and Jackson.

Vikings Could Look to Draft WR High in 2023 NFL Draft

Minnesota is projected to go two ways with the 23rd pick in the upcoming draft: reinforce the defense with another first-round cornerback, or go all-in on offense with a first-round wide receiver.

Vikings.com has tracked expert mock drafts across the media landscape and found cornerback to be the favorite position with eight selections of 16 mock drafts. Wide receiver followed with three selections.

Josh Edwards of CBS Sports predicted the Vikings to select Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njiba, who led the Buckeyes in receiving yards as a sophomore despite the presence of elder wideouts Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

“Minnesota adds Smith-Njigba to pair with Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen finished top 50 in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, so there is plenty left in the tank, but Smith-Njigba gives the Vikings a big-time No. 3 who can develop into that secondary role when Thielen moves on,” Edwards wrote.

Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network picked Minnesota to select USC wide receiver Jordan Addison, a speedy wide receiver who won the Biletnikoff Trophy as college football’s best receiver as a sophomore before transferring his junior year.

We all know that Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but in order for this Vikings offense to operate at its best, [Minnesota needs] someone else who is a threat to take over a game. Addison is exactly that type of player. Addison has positional versatility with the ability to line up in the slot and on the outside and would be a nightmare to gameplan for with Jefferson. Addison falling to the Vikings in this NFL mock draft is the perfect match,” Sanchez wrote.

The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling projected the Vikings to pick SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice, who Minnesota could land even if they traded out of the first round to acquire more picks.

“Adam Thielen isn’t getting any younger, and the Vikings should find a younger understudy to eventually take over as Justin Jefferson’s running mate at receiver. Rice has the size/speed combo that would make him a perfect complement to Jefferson,” Easterling wrote.

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