Fri, 24 Sep 2021

5 Things to Know About Vikings WR Dede Westbrook

Minnesota Vikings
27 Jul 2021, 04:37 GMT+10

Lindsey Young

The Vikings have added to their receiving corps, the team announced Sunday.

Minnesota signed free agent Dede Westbrook, a 2017 fourth-round pick who spent his first four NFL seasons in Jacksonville.

Westbrook played just two games for the Jaguars in 2020. He caught one pass for a gain of 4 yards in Week 3 and suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 that sidelined him for the remainer of the season. In 2019, he started 11 of 15 games and recorded 66 catches for 660 yards and three touchdowns.

The Jaguars also utilized Westbrook on special teams. Before suffering the knee injury, he totaled four punt returns for 44 yards and four kickoff returns for 89 yards.

Westbrook will join a position group in Minnesota led by Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who is coming off a phenomenal rookie campaign. He'll have the opportunity during training camp to vie for the WR3 spot, competing among the likes of Chad Beebe, Bisi Johnson and K.J. Osborn, who impressed during the Vikings spring program.

Here are five things to know about the Vikings newest receiver:

1. Reunited with McCardell

While Westbrook may be meeting new teammates for the first time, he's well-acquainted with his position coach.

The Vikings hired Keenan McCardell this offseason to coach receivers. And where did McCardell last coach? In Jacksonville from 2017-20, the duration of Westbrook's NFL career thus far.

McCardell is quite familiar with Westbrook's skill set and what he brings to an offense, which is an added benefit of the player-coach reunion.

2. 2016 Biletnikoff winner

Westbrook shined at Oklahoma and in 2016 earned the Biletnikoff Award, an honor presented annually to the outstanding receiver in American college football.

During that senior season, Westbrook led the Big 12 with 1,524 receiving yards and a school-record 17 touchdowns. He set a Sooners record against Texas that season with 232 receiving yards, breaking the previous mark of 217 held by Ryan Broyles.

Westbrook's 2016 campaign also earned him First-Team All-Big 12 honors and put him in the running for the Heisman Trophy. He ultimately finished fourth in voting behind quarterbacks Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma teammate Baker Mayfield.

3. Westbrook has wheels

Westbrook accepted an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft, but he did not participate in any on-field drills in Indianapolis.

He did, however, show off his speed at Oklahoma's Pro Day. Westbrook was clocked at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a time that would have ranked third among receivers at the combine behind John Ross (4.22) and Curtis Samuel (4.31).

Westbrook's wheels are an asset in the receiving game as well as in returning. He has 47 career punt returns for 461 yards and one score.

4. Made a good impression

Westbrook started his college playing career at the JUCO level, playing at Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas. As a sophomore at Blinn, he earned NJCAA First-Team All-America honors after racking up 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns in only eight games.

Westbrook transferred in 2015 to Oklahoma, where he started all 13 games and was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year by the conference's coaches.

5. Hails from the Lone Star State

A native of Cameron, Texas, Westbrook garnered attention as a receiver at C.H. Yoe High School.

Westbrook is now one of nine Vikings who hail from the Lone Star State. He joins CB Kris Boyd (Gilmer), CB Jeff Gladney (New Boston), DE Danielle Hunter (Katy), S Kirk Luther (Garland), LB Blake Lynch (Gilmer), DT James Lynch (Round Rock), QB Kellen Mond (San Antonio) and RB Kene Nwangwu (Frisco).

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