Will Jaguars pay Jalen Ramsey and keep him?

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Shad Khan didn’t become one of the greatest modern American success stories by being stupid.

The Jaguars owner realizes that cornerback Jalen Ramsey wants out because he believes the team doesn’t view him as the best player in the league at his position. The Jaguars owner also realizes that there’s a very simple way to make him believe that the team views him as the best player in the league at his position: Make him the highest-paid player in the league at his position.

It’s a simple approach to solving a thorny problem, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL reported on Friday that Khan is willing to do it.

It won’t be that hard to do it. As explained Friday, a six-year, $77.7 million offer puts Ramsey at $15.1 million per year in new money, jumping Miami cornerback Xavien Howard ($15.05 million per year) and Washington cornerback Josh Norman ($15 million per year) for the title of highest paid.

Of course, Ramsey may want more than that. Norman got his $15 million per year as a free agent, making it a true $15 million per year. If Ramsey wants six years and $90 million, that pushes the new money average all the way to $18.1 million per year.

But, hey, if that’s what it takes to make Ramsey happy, that’s what it takes. And if in a few years he’s not happy with the fact that others have leapfrogged him and he decides he wants a new deal, then give it to him — if he’s still the best cornerback in the game.

Matt Nagy looking for the right ways to use Cordarrelle Patterson’s speed

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Throughout his NFL career, Cordarrelle Patterson has shown flashes of his great talent, but he’s never developed into an every-down offensive threat. Bears coach Matt Nagy hopes to be the one to figure out how to make the most out of Patterson’s talents.

So far this season Patterson has touched the ball four times, and he has flashed both the good and the bad: He broke off a 46-yard run against the Broncos on Sunday at a time when the Bears’ offense otherwise wasn’t getting anything going, but he also lost two yards on a crucial third-and-1 in the loss to the Packers. Nagy said he needs to be cognizant of what Patterson can and can’t do.

“It’s a benefit — unless it’s third-and-1 and you’re trying to get a first down with him back there,” Nagy said, via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nagy said he’s been keeping an eye on Patterson since he was in college and has always liked what he can do.

“Now what he’s morphed into as a player throughout his [NFL] career, it’s pretty unique,” Nagy said. “As a play-caller it allowed you to be flexible with what you can do. You saw [against the Broncos] we were able to get him on the edge. He’s a big dude that’s flying around there with a lot of speed.”

Through two games, the Bears’ offense looks desperate for someone who can fly around with a lot of speed. Don’t be surprised if Patterson starts getting more touches. Just not on third-and-1.

Does the Antonio Brown release make a Rob Gronkowski comeback more likely?

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The sudden-but-not-surprising decision of the Patriots to release receiver Antonio Brown takes them from being the definite Super Bowl champions to the likely Super Bowl champions. But there’s a way to push the needle back toward “definite.”

Well, there are two. They can trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey (never rule out the Patriots swooping in), or they can lure tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement.

Weeks ago, we reported (based on a source close to the situation) that a personal appeal from quarterback Tom Brady would be a significant factor in whether Gronk comes back. With Brady losing one of the best receivers in the game, Brady may be privately pining even more for the best tight end currently not in the game.

Gronk has until the Tuesday after Week 13 to emerge from retirement and return to the Patriots. For now, things are going very well; indeed, the Pats beat the Steelers by 30 without Brown. But if they hit a rough spot (at this point a rough spot would constitute winning a game by fewer than 20 points), maybe Brady stops using his phone to tweet complaints about penalties and starts texting football emojis to Gronk.

Then, after Gronk responds with a few eggplant emojis and laughs about it like he’s nine years old (and we love him for that), maybe Gronk comes back.

Potential placement on paid leave may not deter the next Antonio Brown suitor

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The NFL’s position that free-agent receiver Antonio Brown won’t be placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list unless and until he signs with another team would seem to be a deterrent to any team signing him. It would seem to be, but it may not be.

Washington claimed linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers last year, knowing full well that they could end up paying him to not play. When he was indeed placed on paid leave after Washington claimed him on waivers, Washington paid out the balance of his $875,000 salary for 2018, at $51,470 per week.

A team that signs Brown would be required to give him a minimum salary of $1.03 million. That’s a game check in the amount of only $60,588 per week. If a team is willing to risk owing him that amount each and every week even if he lands on paid leave — and if Brown would be willing to accept a minimum salary along with, for example, significant per-game active roster bonuses and/or incentives — a deal easily can be done.

Continue to keep an eye on Washington. They need as many good players as they can find, they definitely need receivers, and Brown could play as soon as Monday night against the Bears. They didn’t hesitate to claim Foster last year, who had actually been arrested for domestic violence. Brown still hasn’t been, and quite possibly won’t be, arrested for anything he has done.

Here’s another reason to watch Washington: To the extent that former P.R. chief Tony Wyllie provided a voice of reason in these matters, he’s no longer there; the team announced on Friday his decision to leave the organization to work for the Special Olympics. So if Bruce Allen and/or Dan Snyder want to embrace a man who remains one of the best receivers (and one of the best players) in the NFL, who’s to tell them they shouldn’t?

Thirty-one teams can shout “hell no” as to the possibility of signing Brown. It takes only one to whisper, “OK.” At a potential cost of $60,588 per week in the event he’s placed on paid leave (with the ability to cut him even after he’s placed on paid leave), it would be foolish to presume that, at this moment, teams aren’t debating internally whether they’re willing to suffer a short-term P.R. hit and a relatively mild financial loss in order to do what every team (except maybe one) is constantly trying to do: WIN!

Calvin Johnson: Lions “wanted me to change my story” after concussion

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Former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has previously said he hid concussions from team doctors, but he’s now saying something different: That the Lions knew he had a concussion but wanted him to say he didn’t.

Johnson told SI.com that in 2012, when he contradicted himself after first saying publicly that he had suffered a concussion, he did so at the Lions’ request.

“I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story,” Johnson said.

Johnson and the Lions have been at odds since he retired and they required him to pay back some of the signing bonus he received on his last contract, but he says he’s done worrying about that.

“I don’t care. I really don’t,” he says. “If they do [pay back the bonus], great, I put some more money in my pocket. But either way, I’m not trippin’.”

Johnson says he suffered at least one concussion every year in the NFL, but he says concussions aren’t why he retired and aren’t affecting him today.

Howard Cassady, member of Lions’ last championship team, dies at 85

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Howard Cassady, a Heisman Trophy-winning running back who would then win an NFL championship with the Lions, has died at the age of 85.

During his freshman year at Ohio State, Cassady was given the nickname “Hopalong” by sportswriters who saw him on the practice field and said he hopped all over the field like the fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy. So fast was Cassady’s first step on the practice field that Ohio State coach Woody Hayes would get angry with him for taking the handoff and hitting the line before the offensive linemen had had time to open a hole for him.

In 1954 Cassady finished third in Heisman Trophy voting and led Ohio State to the national championship, and in 1955 he won the Heisman by what was then the largest voting margin in the history of the award. Hayes would describe Cassady as “the greatest player of this century.”

The Lions chose Cassady with the third overall pick in the 1956 NFL draft, and in 1957 he led the Lions in touchdowns as they won the NFL championship, still the last title in franchise history. Cassady made $14,500 each of those first two years, giving him the most lucrative rookie contract in the league.

Cassady spent eight seasons in the NFL, seven of them with the Lions. Cassady had also played baseball at Ohio State, and after retiring he became the conditioning coach of the New York Yankees and worked for the Yankees for 30 years.

John Harbaugh: Jalen Ramsey trade talk not something I can comment on

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There’s been plenty of talk that the Ravens could make a trade for Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but none of that talk will come from Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Asked about a potential trade, Harbaugh said he’s aware of speculation in the media but prohibited from discussing it by league tampering rules.

“I’m like fans. I read it,” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. “It has a little interest, because if someone gets traded to a team that we’re playing, or away from a team that we play, that matters to us. If we’re ever involved in one of those, then that really matters to us. But it’s not something you could ever comment on anyway.”

The Ravens have lost slot cornerback Tavon Young for the season with a neck injury and cornerback Jimmy Smith for multiple games with a knee injury, so they’d love to add a cornerback of Ramsey’s talent. So far, however, there’s been little reason to think any team is going to meet Jacksonville’s asking price.

Saints not interested in Antonio Brown

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The last time Antonio Brown became a free agent, he wasn’t free for long. This time around, he may be waiting for a while.

Add the Saints to the list of teams that don’t seem to be interested in signing AB.

“I think right now, where we sit, I like our depth at that position,” Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters on Friday, when asked about Brown. “I haven’t really paid much attention to the other teams and hadn’t heard that yet. But, it is what it is. I am focused really on the guys that are here and I thought we had a good week at that position specifically. So we’re excited to get going.”

The Saints already have Michael Thomas, and the primary challenge in the short term becomes the position that distributes the ball, not the one that catches it. Still, the Saints saw first hand what Brown can do; he had 14 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns last December in what ultimately may be the last significant showing from Brown.

NFL won’t place Antonio Brown on exempt list as long as he’s a free agent

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The NFL continues to investigate Antonio Brown but will not place him on the Commissioner-Exempt list as long as the receiver remains a free agent, the league announced Friday night.

The league, though, said it would reassess if a team signs Brown.

“Antonio Brown was released today by the New England Patriots and is currently an unrestricted free agent,” the NFL said in its statement. “Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation. We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.

“As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner’s exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.”

That likely is enough to discourage any team from signing Brown . . . if any team was interested in signing Brown. Brown still would be paid if he were placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list but would be ineligible to practice or play.

Any team interested in signing Brown likely lets the NFL’s investigation play out first.

The NFL met with Britney Taylor for 10 hours Monday about the allegations of rape and sexual assault she levied against Brown in a lawsuit last week. Since then, Brown has become the subject of another accusation of improper conduct with a woman.

The NFL advised Brown to stop contacting the second accuser after he reportedly harassed her via text message, which precipitated his release from the Patriots earlier Friday.

Seahawks previously had interest in Antonio Brown but no longer do

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The Seahawks showed interest in Antonio Brown before the receiver signed with the Patriots. Brown is a free agent again, 13 days later.

So do the Seahawks, who spoke with Brown after the Raiders cut him, have interest in the Pro Bowler this time around?

Coach Pete Carroll said no without using the word.

“We’re pretty well set right now,” Carroll said Friday, via Gregg Bell of the News Tribune. “We kind of know where we’re going with that.”

Carroll admitted 11 days ago that the Seahawks had “checked into” Brown, saying “Why wouldn’t you, you know? He’s a great player.”

Since the Seahawks’ initial interest, Brown was sued for sexual assault and rape and attempted to intimidate a second accuser who came forward earlier this week in comments to SI.com.

The Seahawks’ due diligence on Brown also came before they had seen rookie D.K. Metcalf in a regular-season game. Metcalf has seven catches for 150 yards and a touchdown in two games.

Carroll’s reaction was similar to those of Sean Payton and Sean McVay, who were asked about their interest in Brown.

“Right now, where we are . . .I like our depth at that position,” Payton said, via Dianna Russini of ESPN. “I haven’t paid much attention. I’m focused on the guys here.”

McVay initially expressed surprise at his press conference when told of Brown’s release and then essentially repeated what Carroll and Payton said.

“You always look into things,” McVay said, via quotes distributed by the team. “We evaluate, but with the situation we have specific to the receiver position, we couldn’t be happier with the guys that we do have.”

NFL, officials reach tentative labor deal

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association have yet to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL and the NFL Referees Association are close to doing so.

Per multiple sources, the NFL and the NFLRA have struck an agreement in principle. The new CBA hinges on approval by the rank and file. They plan to gather next week to vote on the deal.

The CBAi sn’t official until more than 50 percent of the members of the NFLRA vote in favor of it.

The NFL and the NFLRA are in the last year of the current deal, an agreement brokered during a lockout in 2012 that ended after the embarrassment of the Fail Mary call on Monday Night Football.

Seahawks add Rashaad Penny, Tre Flowers to injury report

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Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny injured his hamstring in Friday’s practice. That prompted the team to add him to their status report as questionable for Sunday against the Saints.

C.J. Prosise likely would see more work if Penny can’t go.

The team also made cornerback Tre Flowers a late addition, listing him as questionable after he injured his ankle at Thursday’s practice. Jamar Taylor or Akeem King would start for Flowers.

The Seahawks also list free safety Tedric Thompson (hamstring) as questionable. He missed last week’s game with his injury.

Offensive lineman Ethan Pocic (neck) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) are doubtful.

Ziggy Ansah is ready to make his debut, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he expects the defensive end to get “a bunch of plays in this game.”

Defensive tackle Poona Ford and receiver David Moore also exited the injury report.

Week Three injury report roundup

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Week Three of the 2019 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Jaguars and it continues with 14 more games on Sunday, which means that the 28 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered healthy enough to play barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Panthers at Cardinals

QB Cam Newton (foot) missed practice all week and will be on the bench for the Panthers with Kyle Allen getting the start. S Rashaan Gaulden (groin), T Brandon Greene (neck) and LB Bruce Irvin (hamstring) are also out. TE Greg Olsen (back) and DE Kawann Short (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

The Cardinals ruled out G Lamont Gaillard (knee). They listed DE Jonathan Bullard (hamstring), CB Chris Jones (ankle) and LB Ezekiel Turner (hand, hamstring) as questionable for Sunday.

Jets at Patriots

The Jets’ Week Four bye will be welcomed after a look at this week’s injuries. QB Sam Darnold (illness) and LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) are out. LB C.J. Mosley (groin), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) and DT Quinnen Williams (ankle) are listed as doubtful. T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder), RB Trenton Cannon (ankle, hamstring), DT Steve McLendon (hip), S Rontez Miles (hip), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), CB Brian Poole (groin), and G Brian Winters (shoulder) are all listed as questionable.

RB James Develin (neck) has been ruled out for the Patriots. LB Shilique Calhoun (not injury related), T Marcus Cannon (shoulder), TE Ryan Izzo (calf) and TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals at Bills

The Bengals won’t have DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), T Cordy Glenn (concussion), WR A.J. Green (ankle), CB B.W. Webb (forearm) and DE Kerry Wynn (concussion) in Buffalo. DE Carl Lawson (hamstring) is likely out after drawing a doubtful tag while G Michael Jordan (knee) and T Andre Smith (groin) make up the questionable contingent.

The Bills will play without CB Taron Johnson (hamstring), TE Tyler Kroft (foot, ankle) and RB Devin Singletary (hamstring). LB Corey Thompson (ankle) is their only questionable player.

Dolphins at Cowboys

Dolphins S Reshad Jones (ankle) and WR Albert Wilson (hip, calf) are out this weekend. DE Charles Harris (wrist), LB Trent Harris (foot) and S Bobby McCain (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

The Cowboys won’t have WR Tavon Austin (concussion), DE Tyrone Crawford (hip), WR Michael Gallup (knee), LB Luke Gifford (ankle), DT Antwaun Woods (knee) and S Xavier Woods (ankle) for Sunday’s game.

Broncos at Packers

The Broncos ruled out T Ja'Wuan James (knee), RB Andy Janovich (pectoral) and LB Joseph Jones (triceps). CB Bryce Callahan (foot) and LB Todd Davis (calf) are listed as questionable.

TE Jimmy Graham (groin) heads up a group of questionable Packers that also includes WR Jake Kumerow (shoulder), WR Darrius Shepherd (hamstring) and LB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder). LB Oren Burks (chest) and G Lane Taylor (biceps) are out and DE Montravius Adams (shoulder) is set to join them after being tagged as doubtful.

Falcons at Colts

The Falcons ruled out P Matt Bosher (right groin), but have no one else on the injury report.

WR T.Y. Hilton (quadricep) and RB Marlon Mack (calf) are questionable for the Colts after limited practices on Friday. RB Jonathan Williams (rib) is also questionable while LB Darius Leonard (concussion) and DE Jabaal Sheard (knee) were ruled out.

Ravens at Chiefs

The Ravens ruled out CB Jimmy Smith (knee) and S Brynden Trawick (elbow). TE Mark Andrews (foot) and DT Patrick Ricard (back) are listed as questionable.

Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) went from out of practice Wednesday to full participation on Friday before being listed as questionable. T Eric Fisher (groin), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder) and RB Damien Williams (knee) won’t play this weekend.

Raiders at Vikings

WR Dwayne Harris (ankle) and G Gabe Jackson (knee) are out for the Vikings. T Trenton Brown (knee), LB Vontaze Burfict (shoulder, knee), G Denzelle Good (ankle), DT P.J. Hall (illness), S Lamarcus Joyner (groin), and DT Corey Liuget (knee) are questionable to be in the Oakland lineup.

Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander (elbow) is out while LB Anthony Barr (groin), G Pat Elflein (knee), LB Ben Gedeon (groin) and CB Mike Hughes (knee) are listed as questionable.

Lions at Eagles

The Lions’ injury report is made up of five questionable players. LB Jarrad Davis (ankle), T Taylor Decker (back), DE Da'shawn Hand (elbow), CB Rashaan Melvin (knee) and S C.J. Moore (heel) make up the group.

WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) didn’t practice this week, but the Eagles listed him as questionable. They ruled out RB Corey Clement (shoulder), WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen), DT Timmy Jernigan (foot) and T Jordan Mailata (back). LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee) is considered doubtful and TE Dallas Goedert (calf) and QB Nate Sudfeld (left wrist) join Jeffery in the questionable category.

Giants at Buccaneers

Two wide receivers make up the entire Giants injury report. Cody Latimer (concussion) is out and Bennie Fowler (hamstring) is questionable.

LB Devin White (knee) is one of four Buccaneers players out this weekend. LB Devante Bond (hamstring), CB Jamel Dean (ankle) and QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder) round out the group.

Texans at Chargers

T Laremy Tunsil (ankle) is questionable for the Texans along with RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring) and G Senio Kelemete (wrist).

The Chargers handed out three injury designations. TE Hunter Henry (knee) is out, CB Michael Davis (hamstring) is doubtful and K Michael Badgley (right groin) is questionable.

Saints at Seahawks

Saints QB Drew Brees (right thumb), DT Sheldon Rankins (Achilles) and WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) are not playing this weekend.

The Seahawks listed C Ethan Pocic (neck) and CB Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) as doubtful for Sunday’s game. CB Tre Flowers (ankle) and S Tedric Thompson (hamstring) drew questionable tags.

Steelers at 49ers

LB Anthony Chickillo (foot), RB Roosevelt Nix (knee) and LB Vince Williams (hamstring) won’t play for the Steelers.

49ers RB Tevin Coleman (ankle), WR Jalen Hurd (back) and T Joe Staley (fibula) are out for this weekend. DE Nick Bosa (ankle), DE Dee Ford (quadricep), S Jaquiski Tartt (toe) and S Jimmie Ward (hand) make up the group of questionable players.

Rams at Browns

The Rams listed DT Aaron Donald (back) as questionable, but they say he’s playing. G Austin Blythe (ankle) is also questionable and TE Tyler Higbee (chest) is out.

The Browns ruled out LB Christian Kirksey (chest), T Kendall Lamm (knee) and S Damarious Randall (concussion). S Morgan Burnett (quadricep), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), T Christopher Hubbard (foot), S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring), DE Chris Smith (not injury related), LB Adarius Taylor (ankle), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) and CB Greedy Williams (hamstring) are all listed as questionable for Sunday night.

NFL told Antonio Brown to stop contacting second accuser

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Regardless of the Patriots’ decision to cut Antonio Brown, the NFL still has jurisdiction over multiple incidents that potentially violate the Personal Conduct Policy. As to one of those incidents, the NFL has issued a directive to Brown that sheds light on whether and to what extent the league is taking the situation seriously.

The lawyers who represent the second accuser issued a statement on Friday afternoon explaining that Brown had been advised to “have no further contact with our client, either directly or through his associates,” and that the NFL “also advised us that it contacted Mr. Brown’s representative and reiterated that Mr. Brown was to cease and desist efforts to contact or intimidate our client.”

The accuser’s lawyers explained in the statement, issued before the Patriots released Brown, that they had a “productive conversation” with NFL officials on Friday morning, and that the league has “given us every indication that they take this matter very seriously.”

“We thank them for moving swiftly and decisively,” the accuser’s lawyers said in the statement. “The NFL has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation under its Personal Conduct Policy. We will cooperate fully with the NFL in this investigation to ensure that the threats and intimidation against our client cease, and that she and her family remain safe.”

A second statement was issued after the Patriots released Brown.

“The NFL and the Patriots clearly took our client’s concerns seriously,” the lawyers said. “She wanted the threats and intimidation to stop and we hope that will be case. The NFL has assured us that regardless of Antonio Brown’s roster status, it will continue to investigate all claims regarding his behavior. We are gratified that the NFL recognized that it has an important role to play in policing player conduct that is sexually harassing and threatening.”

Brown has in many ways been his own worst enemy in recent weeks, poisoning relationships and behaving badly and running his tally for former NFL teams in 2019 to three.

Vikings continue to look for receiving depth behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen

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The Vikings have two great receivers. Beyond that, the depth chart is a work in progress.

Chad Beebe has emerged as an intriguing option in the slot, but the Vikings want more help.

Toward that end, they have worked out veteran receiver Jordan Matthews, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com. Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com adds that the Vikings also brought in Deontay Burnett and Tanner Gentry.

The need for receiving help arose after the Vikings chose to release Laquon Treadwell, a failed first-round pick from 2016. They signed Josh Doctson, another 2016 first-rounder who had been released by Washington, but Doctson has landed on injured reserve.

Beyond Diggs, Thielen, and Beebe, the Vikings have only one receiver on the roster — Bisi Johnson.