The Bengals have loaded up on offense in the past two offseasons. They gave running back Joe Mixon an extension, drafted receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, and—most importantly—drafted quarterback Joe Burrow.
Still, they may not have the advantage in terms of skill position players, according to The Athletic’s Arif Hasan. He joined our show to preview today’s game.
The Vikings have one of the best running backs in the league, Dalvin Cook, who is coming off a monster season of 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing, with an average yards per carry of 5.0. He also caught 44 balls for 361 yards last year and had 53 catches for 519 yards in 2019.
In terms of receivers, Minnesota’s duo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson is one of the very best in the league. Thielen topped 90 catches and 1,200 yards in back to back seasons in 2017 and 2018 and had 14 touchdowns last year. Jefferson caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie last year,
But what about the Vikings’ third receiver? Hasan says it may be K.J. Osborne, who has “looked really remarkable in camp”. But the team also drafted Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft who has also “looked really good in camp,” though he didn’t show that off in preseason games because he had Jake Browning throwing to him; Smith-Marsette is a deep threat and Browning has a limited arm. Of course, Dede Westbrook, previously with the Jacksonville Jaguars, could grab the third receiver spot.
So who has the advantage? “I don’t think it’s quite the same thing as a Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd situation, where any of them could step on a roster and start right away,” Hasan said. “I think three-deep, the Bengals have [the advantage], but in terms of the formations that they prefer to run, I think the Vikings’ skill position group matches up really well.”
You can also listen to our preview on iTunes our using the player below:
Which team’s skill position group is better?