One Viking with a Lot to Lose Unexpectedly Excelled at SEA

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) adjusts his pads during warmup prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Just like last year in Las Vegas facing the Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings lost their first preseason matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. In fact, the Vikings lost all three contests in 2022, showing that the results aren’t worth much. A few players entered the game with much at stake, and some of them didn’t perform well under pressure. Others had a fantastic day.

One Viking with a Lot to Lose Unexpectedly Excelled at SEA

Ty Chandler was a huge winner of the evening, as he was clearly the best running back of the three active rushers. Rookies Jordan Addison and Ivan Pace continued their fantastic summer. Addison proved he was a first-rounder for a good reason, and Pace made some folks in the league regret passing on him in the draft.

1 Viking With a Lot to Lose Unexpectedly Excelled
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) celebrates a catch against the New York Jets during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Besides those standouts, a receiver surprisingly shined. Former first-round pick Jalen Ragor played early in the game next to Jordan Addison, and he looked much improved compared to last season and finished the game with four catches on four targets for 55 yards, leading the team in yards and receptions.

Regaor has had an underwhelming start to his career. He was the 21st overall pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020, a team desperate for receiving help. Famously, Justin Jefferson was drafted one spot behind him, something that will dangle over Howie Roseman’s head for as long as he’s the general manager in Philadelphia, although he is one of the best team-builders in the NFL.

But when someone makes a mistake like that, a different team can laugh about it, and that was the Vikings. Rick Spielman selected Jefferson, and he turned into the best WR in the NFL, leading the league in yards since the draft and winning Offensive Player of the Year in 2022.

21. Eagles (18): Admirable of WR Jalen Reagor to face the media music after he probably dropped two TD passes Sunday. Less admirable that Philly is putting him in that position and not going to rookie DeVonta Smith instead. Syndication The Record

Reagor, meanwhile, became a Persona non grata in Philly, even though his draft position wasn’t his fault. In two campaigns with the Eagles, Reagor produced 695 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, and he scored a punt return touchdown in 2020 against the Packers.

With the arrival of Devonta Smith and A.J. Brown, in addition to some solid backups, the Eagles wanted to close the chapter of Reagor in Philadelphia, and the Vikings traded for him in search of a competent punt returner.

One year later, that trade is viewed as a negative of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s moves. In 2022 wearing a Vikings uniform, Reagor recorded only 8 catches for 104 yards and 1 score, in addition to subpar punt returning. After he was to blame for a couple of interceptions in the comeback win over the Colts, he was benched for Jalen Nailor.

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Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) scores a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

One possible problem in his 2022 season was that he arrived just before the season began, and Kevin O’Connell’s passing attack is much more complicated than that in Philadelphia. In the preseason contest, he showed confidence running his routes, got open constantly, fought for yards after the catch, and had a fantastic connection with quarterback Nick Mullens.

Nailor’s injury and the fact that he outplayed the other receivers not named Addison are good signs for him to make the roster. While he is unlikely to ever live up to his first-round draft expectations, he might still be able to carve out a nice role and contribute to the 2023 Vikings.

His status after the game is much better than leading up to the game when it seemed like a toss-up between him making the roster or ending up cut.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt