Jake Reed Open Arms

[Note From Adam: Lindsey Young is a talented writer and true Minnesota Sports fan. Her articles around the internet have caught my eye on many occasions over the last couple of years, so I was thrilled when she reach out to Vikings Territory offering to write a guest article or two. Lindsey’s first contribution far exceeded my expectations as she sat down with one of my favorite Vikings for a one-on-one conversation. My gratitude and praise might not be enough to convince her to stick around for good, so please be sure to let her know what a great job she did in the comments section.]


Three Deep.

Use these words with Minnesota Vikings fans, and they will know exactly what you’re talking about.

In 1998, Cris Carter, Jake Reed and Randy Moss impressed the league as one of the most successful receiving trios to ever play the game.

But where are they now? On Nov. 7, Jake Reed sat down to share with fans about his time as a Viking, his insight on the current team, and his life post-football.

Born and raised in Georgia, Reed proved a natural in football cleats from a very young age. The receiver pursued his dream of playing in the NFL, and he left a mark wherever he went. As a senior at Grambling State University (Louisiana), Reed led all receivers with 954 yards and an impressive 20-yard-average per catch.

Reed entered the 1991 NFL Draft, and the Minnesota Vikings drafted the 22-year-old in the third round. Reed donned a purple jersey to join sophomore receiver Cris Carter, and the two made up Minnesota’s powerful receiving core in the early 90s.

“[Cris] taught me a lot of ropes about being an NFL wide receiver,” Reed stated. Although only one year stood between himself and No. 80, Carter became an immediate mentor. The two developed a strong friendship beyond football, and on the field, they were invincible.

Carter and Reed played almost a decade together, and each came up with countless catches for the highlight reel. And while many memorable moments occurred on the field, one play in particular stands out in Reed’s mind: Dec. 28, 1997. On that day, Minnesota faced New York in the season’s first playoff game.

Reed injured his leg early in the game, but he remained on the field. He smiled, recounting the fourth-quarter play:

“I remember that game like it was yesterday. I was hurting so bad, but I knew we needed it. [Randall Cunningham] threw it to me, and I made that catch in the back of the end zone.”

The Vikings tallied 10 points in the final 90 seconds of that contest, stunning a crowd of 77,497 Giants fans with a 23-22 victory.

Despite its best efforts, however, Minnesota went on to lose to San Francisco in the divisional playoffs.

Reed and the Vikings needed a fresh start for the ’98 season.

Enter Randy Moss.

At 22 years old, Moss was selected No. 21 overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. According to Reed, Moss brought another element to the team – the young, fresh blood that the squad needed. Reed said the following about Moss joining the Vikings:

“He made the receiving game that much stronger, that much more dynamic—unstoppable […].  It was fun walking out onto the field every Sunday or Monday night knowing that, hey—people are shooting for you. The game plan is to stop you.

Carter and Reed each spent time with Moss, developing him into an even stronger receiver and individual on and off the field. Many NFL fans may see or remember Moss as the way he was portrayed through the media: unpredictable, defiant, rebellious. This, however, is not how Reed remembers his teammate.

“He spoke his mind,” Reed admitted. “He did what Randy Moss wanted to do. But as far as being crazy […], once you get to a certain level, you kind of have to put your guard up. Everybody is pulling at you, and everybody wants something. I think that as a young guy, [Randy] just didn’t know how to handle it.”

Together, the receiving trio led the Vikings through a winning 1998 season. That year, the Vikings, known for a high-powered offense, scored a then-NFL record 556 points, the most points scored by any team in the 1990s. They charged through a 15-1 season, and Minnesota fans will remember with painful clarity the ‘99 NFC Championship game in which the 14-2 Atlanta Falcons defeated the Vikings in overtime.

Three Deep - Moss, Carter and Reed

In recovery from back surgery, Reed did not play in the Championship game. Being on the sidelines made it no less painful, however, as he planned to be ready for the Super Bowl.

“We don’t want to talk about that,” Reed admitted, shaking his head. “I still look at my finger and see that I’m missing my Super Bowl ring. I think a lot of people cried that year – I think I shed some tears that day […]. When you get that shot to go to the next level, you have to be able to take it. It may not come around again.”

Reed is no stranger to losses and team obstacles, and he uses his experience to look at the Minnesota Vikings current season. Reed often takes to Twitter, boldly remaining positive and encouraging to his former team, despite its 2-7 record.  It’s that  attitude—the positivity, refusal to give up—that Reed says is most important to keep a squad going.

According to the retired receiver, it’s an attitude that starts before game day:

“When things go bad, sometimes it really snowballs,” Reed said. “The guys need to step back, make decisions – whether they want to play football, not hang their heads, not hang things up yet on the season. […] It may not be enjoyable to lose, but you have to enjoy the game. You have to continue to fight. You have to continue to fight as a team.”

When asked to comment on Minny’s current QB situation, Reed emphasized the importance of all the players on the field – stressing strongly that it’s hard to ever blame one position for a team’s struggles. During his time in purple, Reed played for several different quarterbacks: Sean Salisbury, Jim McMahon, Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Daunte Culpepper, and a few others.

“We had a long list of quarterbacks, but it’s the receivers that make the QB really feel comfortable. We had a true leader – Cris Carter. He held us accountable as young receivers, and we really had to make sure that we ran our routes, got off the ball fast.” Reed reminded that all offensive players hold specific responsibilities, and receivers have to execute their routes just as accurately as the QB has to make the pass. In the end, there are a lot of things needing to be in place to complete a successful play.

Reed will continue to represent his team, no matter what its record, and he’s proud to be a part of Minnesota’s history.

Jake Reed Catch Over Packer

Besides supporting his former team, Reed maintains a happy and busy post-football life. The former receiver and his family currently live in Texas – according to Reed, there is no longer a need to “voluntarily live in the cold.” A proud father to three children, Reed spends most of his time involved in his children’s lives and helping them reach their own goals.

Reed’s son, JR, is a senior at Prestonwood Christian Academy, where he plays on the varsity football squad. Although the 6’1” JR occasionally plays receiver, his primary position is at cornerback. Reed enjoys serving as a volunteer coach at Prestonwood, saying he considers it a valuable time to be with his son—a “last opportunity for influence” before JR is recruited and begins to play college ball.

And it doesn’t stop with the males of the family. Reed’s daughter Jaevin, 15, already stands out as one of Texas’ top track stars. As a high school freshman, Jaevin finished No. 1 in the state for the Varsity 5A 200m and 400m events.

“[Jaevin’s] really all over the place,” laughed Reed, “and I run with her all summer.” He pauses. “I’m enjoying life. Enjoying my family.”

Recently, Reed brought his family back to MN to share in the latest chapter of Vikings history, an event close to Reed’s heart. On Nov. 7, Cris Carter returned to the Metrodome to receive his NFL Hall of Fame ring.

To Reed, this was another special event to share with his teammate.

“[Cris and I] are like family,” said Reed. “We hang out, our wives talk on the phone every day. His kids call me ‘Uncle,’ my kids call Cris ‘Uncle.’ I remember a time when I was a young guy and Cris said, ‘You just hang on to my coat tails, and you’ll be all right.’ I did that – I held on to his coat tails.”

He added, “It’s going to be emotional to see him up there. Seeing him up there – it’s going to feel almost like I’m getting the ring, too. It’s going to be a great time.”

Carter, Reed HOF



Lindsey Young is a graduate of Northwestern College and an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Currently working full time at her alma mater, she continues to write and contribute to various sources, in pursuit of a career in sports journalism. Her work has been featured on Bleacher Report, TCHuddle.com, and Timberwolves.com. You can read her blog at Making the Call and follow her on Twitter @lilshortie2712.


  1. Lindsey –

    An enjoyable article, thanks for your work.

    Oh the good old days!! Jake was the most enjoyable of the three. I remember the poster “3 deep”, Freds son had it hanging on his wall forever.

    Freds has the famous poster from 2012 with Jenkins, Aromashodu and Simpson titled ” 3 drops”. Not exactly the same as 3 deep….but you know.

    Again, nice work!

    • I used to have a “3 deep” poster when I was a teenager, but it had nothing to do with football.

  2. good job, Lindsey. i watched that game with a friend who is originally from NY and is a gnats fan, and neither one of us could believe it. the vikes didn’t deserve to win that game, but i was glad they did

  3. What a great stroll down memory lane. Wonderful read in these somber times. I vote Lindsay sticks around in this corner of the Blogosphere!

    • She can stick around as long as she can assure us Lindsey Young isn’t a “pen name” and she isn’t really Tomb or Coach Buds.

      Come to think of it, she doesn’t sound very left leaning and she didn’t break off into some crazy ass rambling about the offensive line, or mick tingelhoff… so it’s probably not either of of those two kooks. On top of that, she used periods and commas, so it’s probably not Brett either.

      • Yikes, three insults in one comment, Fred’s. How the hell did I escape that wrath?

        [cue the Erin Henderson heckles]

      • HEY! You watch your tongue when using the name Mick Tinglehoff… or I’ll slap an 8 X 10 glossy of Al Franken on your front door faster than you can say Obamacare.

        • Don’t say Obamacare. From what I hear, if Hitler’s moustache made love to Pol Pot, whilst Stalin molested an evil guinea pig, it still wouldn’t be as bad as Obamacare.

          …from what I hear.

          In any case, if you need extra Franken glossies, I probably have some extras laying around.

      • Coach, ramble? You don’t know the half of it, here’s some highlights of his prior rambling:

        “My story begins in nineteen-dickety-two. We had to say dickety because the Kaiser had stolen our word twenty. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles.

        We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say.

        Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…

        Three wars back we called Sauerkraut “liberty cabbage” and we called liberty cabbage “super slaw” and back then a suitcase was known as a “Swedish lunchbox.” Of course, nobody knew that but me. Anyway, long story short… is a phrase whose origins are complicated and rambling.”

        • That sure brought back the ‘ol memories Tomb!
          I wonder when tying an onion to your belt will come back in style?
          Damn I used to be able to rock an onion.
          And although I never been to Shelbyville or Morganville, I did once live in Soulsbyville, Ca (true story) But that was back before tying an onion to your belt was popular.
          Anyway, that’s not what I came here to say. I came here to say that I never heard of a suitcase being called a Swedish lunchbox and I’m pretty sure Coach just made that up.

  4. Lindsey,
    Great article ! Jake was one of the best with Attitude and Humbling personality .
    And still a class act .
    Man that season was fun and heart breaking…
    At Green bay was one of my favorites…

  5. Thank you, everyone, for the kind words!! It was such an honor to work on a story about such a great athlete and class act. I look forward to writing more content for Vikings Territory!

    • Writing for VT is all fine and well, but I would dissuade you from interacting with the commentariat here.

      It changes a person.

      • I think we have great people to interact with here at VT. If you don’t mind people with questionable emotional stability, beer induced rants, infatuations with the “old days”, threads that go off the rail faster than the Vikings change QB’s, certifiable smart arses, some people just leaving their first childhood and some going into their second and a website owner that actually thinks a 5th Avenue Bar is better than a Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll. Other than those “minor” issues we’re pretty normal.

        • Pay no attention to him, Lindsey. Now, how far back do you go in terms of watching Viking QB’s? Tareknton? Capp? Kramer? Wilson? Please don’t tell me Tarvarius Jackson.

      • Am I a commentariat? (Why does spell-check have it underlined? Do you have a vocabulary larger than spell-check?) I’ve been called a lot of things, but don’t recall that one. Is it bad?

    • Lindsey,

      A very nice article. I grew up a 90’s Vikings fan and would love to see more articles on along the ‘where are they know’ and the ‘you remember when’ story line. One of my favorite receivers was 81 Chris Walsh. I’d love to read about his memories of his time here and the players.

      • Hi Jesse,

        Thanks so much for your comment and kind words! I am hoping to do more articles of a similar nature. I would also enjoy speaking with Chris Walsh, and it is a goal of mine to get a hold of him :)


  6. Nice article there, Ms. Young. That’s a first class piece of journalism right there, which of course we are accustomed to here on VT. (unless Tomb does that onion thing.) Where is that west coast rascal anyway? The Vikes are coming his way this weekend.

      • It appears so, Johnny. I hope he’s not wearing his tinfoil hat and yelling at clouds again.

        • No, that was not good johnny, it was stupid. Please don’t encourage such comments.

          You guys gotta admit, with two minutes to go in the first half, you were thinking I might be on to something. Then late in the game you thought I was simply on something.

      • I coulda swore I saw Joe on one of the camera shots, Norse. Looked like Lonnie Warwick standing next to him, too.

        That was a pretty nice picture of the whole team when they showed that snotty nose Pete Carroll, huh?

  7. wow, live chat is dead. crickets all around

    so, are tomb and fran at this game, getting stabbed or something?

  8. Naw, no stab wounds Cal.
    Luckily, I stayed home and watched this debacle on TV.
    I don’t know when I’ve ever seen a Viking team SO bad in so MANY areas.

    • smart man, fran

      yeah, we bad. what makes it worse is that we were bad two years ago, then got kinda duped last year into thinking we were turning it around, only to fall again this year. bud says it reminds him of the stock market of 1937

      at least TB won. tank for teddy

      • God no, Bridgewater isn’t even a top 2/3 quarterback in this draft… Manziel, Mariota, then either Teddy or Hurdley

        • Johnny Football! That’s who I’d pick…of course, I don’t know much about college football, but that dude looks like a play maker. And he can chuck it, he ain’t afraid.
          And the other guy that looks pretty good is Derek Carr…

      • I coulda swore I heard a rim-shot in the background at the end of that stock market sentence, Cal.

      • Yeah, that was the highlite to the weekend; TB winning.
        IDK about Teddy either, we seem to be snakebit when it comes to drafting QB’s.
        All I know is we need one. We have since Tarkenton retired. . .
        We also need a Coach. We have since Bud Grant retired.
        We also need a Owner who is a Viking football fan (Not a New York Giants fan). We have since Max Winter sold the team.
        Of course we could also use a Seconday, a couple of decent O-linemen too. . .

  9. Reasons to fire frazier….#46: most points scored against vikes in first nine games in history….with a def minded coach…..can’t wait til end of season and they’re all gone….at least a little bit of hope will creep back into the MN fan base…..

  10. Only watched bits and pieces but i recall seeing us kick off to harvin with about a minute to go in half……..and i recall seeing ponder throw a swing pass over ADs head followed by AD walking to the bench with this “I quit” look on his face that I’ve never seen befoe….Zygi, how many more signs do you need?

    • I saw that look on AD’s face too Krug. Sad, real sad to see it.
      I wouldn’t blame the guy one bit if he just mails it in for the rest of the season.

      This team needs to be completely burned down and started over. We are so bad in so many areas that nothing else will do.

      • Fran…..I believe the talent level on our roster is better than half the teams in the NFL (should equate to 8-8 or 9-7)……BUT, throw in Frazier and his whole crew, and this is what you get…in the running for the top draft pick…..that’s the way I see it….I repeat myself, after week 17, 2013, Frazier will be done and will never be hired as a head coach in the NFL again…

        • Absolutely agree with you. We have some great talent on this team but not the coaching to utilize them. I can’t wait to see this whole staff shown the door. It won’t happen until the end of the season but it’s coming for sure. Unfortunately , no matter who we bring in, we’re at least a season or two away from contending again.

    • And by the way, the only “Sign” that Ziggy understands is dollar signs. Until those quit showing up in his bank account, it’ll be business as usual. QUIT BUYING VIKING GEAR and tickets to the game and he’ll get serious about fielding a winning team.

  11. If I see one more damn post game press with Frazier telling me how much we need to work on things, I am gonna crack and come gunnin for somebody. Same damn monotone, same damn words every damn week. We lost turnover battle 4-0, it’s hard to win in the national football league when you lose the turnover battle. OMFG!

    • Don’t be too hard on them (us) johnny. Its not like we had / have anyone else better to hope in. I think it is now pretty obvious to all that in our three QB’s we don’t have a QB. This can be a very cruel league if you are hurting at that position (right Green Bay?). And when you also don’t have much of a defense…

  12. Just want to throw a few things out there:

    1. Nice article Lindsey. Keep’em coming.

    2. I can not stand to watch another Frazier post game conference. He has been saying “we have a lot of work to do” for months and months now. Point is, he is not capable of leading or coaching this team.
    He will have a lot of work to do when he has to clean out his office at the end of the year if not sooner.

    3. Speilman has added a lot of talent to this team over the past few years onlt to be wasted by the HC, DC and OC. All need to go and I give Ricky credit for not jumping the gun and signing Frazier to contract extension after last season. Maybe he was not totally sold either.

    4. QB needs to be addressed BIG TIME during the off season. I hope it is not Manziel. I could never trust any QB that has a striking resemblance to Alfred E Neuman (the guy on the cover of Mad Magazine).

    5. The Vikes need to be active in free agency next year. I read that they will have approximately 30-35 million dollars of cap space next year. They need to use it.

    6. Vikes need to give Gruden a call.

    7. The cover 2 scheme is dead. The NFL is changing and the cover 2 is outdated and obviously ineffective. ( See Vikings defense stats for details).

    8. Vikes need to address the OG position. I would start Baca over Charlie Johnson right now to see what he can do along with other draft picks.

    9. Patterson is star waiting to happen. Too bad this teams does not have the coaching staff to realize it.

    10. Vikes break ground on the new stadium on Dec. 3rd. In the new digs in 2016. There is time to put together a quality team before then so they can open the new joint in style and make it worth it.

  13. They might call old Chuckie…but doubt he would want any part of this team, He’d have to stand out in the cold for the next 2 years….We need another Bud.

      • Weird, I liked all of them EXCEPT #6.
        Just never been a Gruden fan. He took over a team from a guy the Vikings never should have let leave, Tony Dungy.
        Dungy is the guy that built the team that Gruden took to the Super Bowl.

        And yeah Norse, thank God Speilman didn’t extend Frazier’s contract!
        I really don’t know who’s out there that we could pick up to coach this team but there has to be better choices than Gruden.

  14. Nice list, Norseman
    Change #6 to Mike Zimmer. Players respect this guy.

    The Vikes are too low profile for Chuckles Gruden. If he does coach again, it will be in New York, Dallas or anywhere that is willing to foolishly pay him $8 million a year.

  15. I think Spielzo the Clown read Adam’s post concerning the draft pick compensation for Freeman. And, that’s the ONLY reason he picked him up.


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