How the New WR Fits on Vikings Roster

Prominent WR Unlikely
Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings fans believed the franchise was fairly set at wide receiver with two weeks of training camp in the books, but then Sunday came along.

How the New WR Fits on Vikings Roster

The Vikings main social media account tweeted two transactions Sunday afternoon, “The Vikings have signed WR N’Keal Harry and placed DL James Lynch on IR.”

How the New WR
Dec 24, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver N’Keal Harry (8) practices before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

So, that makes 13 wide receivers on the current roster, and to set the table, these are those players:

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: K.J. Osborn
WR3: Jordan Addison
WR4: Jalen Nailor
WR5: Jalen Reagor
WR6: Brandon Powell
WR7: Blake Proehl
WR8: Trishton Jackson
WR9: N’Keal Harry
WR10: Lucky Jackson
WR11: Thayer Thomas
WR12: Garett Maag
WR13: Jacon Copeland

And here’s how the newcomer Harry fits into the current iteration of Vikings.

Jalen Nailor and Trishton Jackson Hobbled

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) celebrates after making a stop against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

To reiterate, the Vikings WR corps appears fine on paper, and, in fact, most fans are optimistic about the group. Jalen Nailor barnstormed the first week of training camp, seeming to solidify the WR4 role for 2023.

But Nailor and his teammate Trishton Jackson were injured recently, albeit with minor ailments. Minnesota certainly doesn’t lack bodies in the WR room at the moment, but none have a 1st-Round pedigree like Harry. The former Patriot and Bear has tabulated 64 receptions for 714 yards and 5 scores in his four-year career, so he has some experience.

Ultimately, Harry is likely a late-summer acquisition to hedge the bet against Nailor and Jackson’s injuries — with the preseason games now three days away.

WR5 Competition

Dec 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry (15) falls into the end zone for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports.

There is a chance, though, that Harris is in the house in Eagan to genuinely compete for the WR5 job. The position is up for grabs among contenders like Jalen Reagor, the aforementioned Jackson, Brandon Powell, and Blake Proehl. And it’s anybody’s ballgame regarding who could win WR5, although Powell, the free-agent newcomer, has dazzled as of late.

Reagor has more catches and receiving yards in his career than Harry, and Reagor played for the Vikings in 2022. He might have a slight advantage in winning a roster spot, but we shall see.

Harry hasn’t taken the NFL by storm, especially as a former 1st-Rounder, since 2019, but he is more a ‘big name’ to land with the Vikings than most folks expected.

Probably a Roster Cut in the End

Nov 24, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts with wide receiver N’Keal Harry (15) after a touchdown catch during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings and 31 other teams have 22 days — about three weeks — to trim rosters from 90 players to 53. Harry, of course, is known to the masses because of 2019 draft placement, but generally speaking, is a longshot to make the Vikings final regular season cut.

Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, and Jalen Nailor have four spots all but sewn up, so Harry will have to hope his training camp and preseason showings out-joust Reagor, Jackson, Powell, and Proehl. Harry as the last man standing at WR5 wouldn’t be unheard of, but Reagor, Jackson, or Powell feel like safer bets.

In theory, the Vikings could also keep six WRs on the active roster.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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