First, It Was Za’Darius Vengeance. It Might Be Time for Another.

First, It Was Za'Darius Vengeance. It Might Be Time for Another.
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) and cornerback Kris Boyd. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings EDGE rusher Za’Darius Smith promised “a little extra” against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, last weekend, and the 30-year-old delivered, sacking Aaron Rodgers once, logging two quarterback hits, and adding a tackle for loss.

The Vikings stunned the Packers 23-7, and Smith set the tone for Minnesota’s momentum on defense. Now, though, another Viking hellbent on a little revenge could be the next man up in Week 2.

That man is Jalen Reagor.

General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah orchestrated a trade with Philadelphia Eagles in August, acquiring Reagor for a 2023 7th-Round pick and a conditional 4th-Rounder in 2024. The Eagles infamously drafted Reagor the pick before Justin Jefferson in the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Vikings ended up with Jefferson, and the LSU alumnus has taken the league by storm.

But now Reagor is employed by the Vikings and has a wee bit of vengeance on the brain, like Smith for the Packers in Week 1.

Jalen Reagor Looks Pretty Spiffy in Vikings Threads
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Texas Christian wide receiver Jalen Reagor. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Chris Tomasson from the Pioneer Press asked Reagor about the ‘revenge’ factor on Thursday, and the 23-year-old replied, “Of course, why not? But I’m not going to go into the game pressing. Just going to let the game come to me, Whatever plays I make, make the best of them.”

Reagor didn’t play any offensive snaps in Week 1 versus the Packers, but he did field four punts, returning one for seven yards. Minnesota’s offense is known for its complexity, so it may take time to get Reagor fully acclimated. In his young career, he’s registered 64 catches for 695 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 29 career games. Soon, those totals will climb when quarterback Kirk Cousins calls Reagor’s number.

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Jalen Reagor. © Jerry Habraken via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

At TCU, Reagor was an ultra-dangerous deep threat with game-changing speed, particularly on vertical routes. But with the Eagles, Reagor was only targeted 111 times in 2020 and 2021 — the 104th-most in the league during the timeframe. For a former 1st-Rounder, Reagor was criminally underutilized, or perhaps the Eagles didn’t think he was very efficient.

Still, per his “Of course, why not” verbiage, Reagor will have his roots on the brain, looking to hang some theatrics on his former team. Reagor is the undisputed punt returner, meaning even if he doesn’t see any offensive action, he should get a few cracks at the Eagles on special teams.

Because the Vikings and Eagles won in Week 1 — and no other contending team in the NFC aside from the Tampa Bay Buccanneers took care of business last weekend –the winner on Monday night will take center stage for national discourse on Tuesday morning. By default, as other NFC teams floundered in Week 1, Monday Night Football will provide a license to legitimacy for the victor.

The Vikings are two-point underdogs in Philadelphia.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).