Jalen Reagor Is Looking to Complete Turn-Around

For Some Reason, Vikings WR4 Guarantees Victory over DET.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

One of the stories of the offseason in the Twin Cities has been at the wide receiver position, with a first-round rookie in Jordan Addison ready to partner superstar Justin Jefferson, as well as KJ Osborn and possibly last year’s rookie Jalen Nailor. The fifth and likely final roster spot for a WR had been a story to watch. Jalen Reagor is looking to complete a turn-around that few saw coming.

Jalen Reagor Is Looking to Complete Turn-Around

Many, myself included, had Reagor penciled in as a roster cut when the time came for NFL teams to trim down their final 53-man roster on Aug. 29. It is a great credit to Reagor that he has come into the preseason and changed opinions with his performance in training camp and the preseason games. A couple of catches early on against the Cardinals in the third and final preseason game was all Kevin O’Connell needed to see. Reagor put his feet up for the rest of the game (having surely sealed his roster spot?).

Difficult Beginnings

Late last offseason, after an injury to Bisi Johnson, the Minnesota Vikings traded for Reagor from the Philadelphia Eagles. The man Philadelphia selected one pick before Minnesota in the 2020 draft – something that has since become the subject of much merriment. It was an interesting twist of fate that Reagor would try to reignite his career playing alongside the man that had become synonymous with his shortcomings.

Reagor Is Looking
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

During his two seasons with the Eagles, Reagor played in 28 games, starting 24 of them. He caught 64 of 111 targets for 695 yards and three touchdowns. That’s disappointing for a first-rounder and was exasperated by the success of Jefferson. Reagor came to Minnesota as the punt returner and WR4. The pressure to succeed wasn’t as great and allowed him to start again. His first season as a Viking was a mixed bag.

His primary role was as a punt returner, managing just 6.4 yards per return. As the season went on, he did start to get chances in the passing game. He finished the season with 8 catches from 13 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. Reagor had a good run between Week 11 and 13, which saw one target and one catch per game that gained a cumulative 77 yards.

Calls for more involvement were loud. Unfortunately, the next two games saw him fail to haul in any of his targets, including appearing to run his route incorrectly, leading to an interception. The slowly bubbling excitement for Reagor quickly ran cold and led to many assuming that he could one-and-done in Minnesota.

Lot’s Still to Do

The Vikings brought in competition at wide receiver in the form of former LA Ram Brandon Powell, also a punt returner. He didn’t play in the final preseason game. Was it because he’d already done enough, or was it a case of Reagor being given the chance to ensure he won the job? Could the Vikings carry six WRs and create space from somewhere else? Possibly using C.J. Ham as the fourth RB,3

Expensive Decision
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The other notable signing was N’Keal Harry — another former first-round pick who has disappointed — who has already been released, and a host of fringe players who were always more likely to make the practice squad. Assuming the Vikings will carry five WRs, it’s down to Reagor and Powell, and Reagor appears safe, probably aided by already having a year playing in O’Connell’s offensive system that is known to be complex.

Of course, a good preseason is nice, but assuming Reagor does make the final roster, he needs to take that form into the regular. He will still be low in the pecking order, competing with Nailor for the WR4 role. Nailor himself has shown promise, with the speedy receiver looking a good deep threat. The good news for the Vikings is that they look to have a strong fivesome of receivers if all play to their potential. Reagor is unlikely to see more than one or two targets per game unless injuries hit the Vikings receiver room. If he can turn those into significant contributions, the Vikings offense will be in a good place.