Is Jalen Nailor Really Going to Be the Guy?

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Drafted in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Jalen Nailor has a chance to be something of a savior from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft for the Minnesota Vikings. After top picks like Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. have emerged as cut candidates, it would be impressive if a late-round pick showed immense value.

Is Jalen Nailor Really Going to Be the Guy?

The former Michigan State Spartan, Jalen Nailor, showed impressive ball skills in college. Despite his 6’0” stature, he was clearly out to prove his positioning in the draft process was a mistake, and there has been buzz around him each of the past two seasons. With Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison the only sure things for Kevin O’Connell’s wide receiver room, an opportunity looms.

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As it stands currently, Brandon Powell looks to be the Vikings’ choice for the third wide receiver position. He definitely showed out in a big way last season when given an opportunity ahead of K.J. Osborn. A veteran, he is still a relatively unproven commodity, and despite some previous familiarity with O’Connell, it can’t be considered a sure bet he hits.

If the Vikings aren’t going to sign someone like Hunter Renfrow, and there is plenty of reason to suggest they absolutely should, then it will likely be a third wide receiver by committee. Although Powell could get the first crack, Nailor will be among the group looking to knock him down a peg.

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Through his first two seasons in Minnesota, Nailor has played in 21 games and earned a single start. He has hauled 12 of his 19 targets and tallied just over 200 yards. Finding the end zone as a rookie, he was seen in limited action a year ago.

Coming into training camp, it would behoove Nailor to develop rapport with presumed backup J.J. McCarthy quickly.

As the rookie signal caller eventually elevates himself to a starting role, being comfortable with a tertiary receiver could be a significant security blanket option.

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There is more than one avenue for Nailor to make an impact for the Vikings this season, and each of them that he starts to stack the deck in his favor will go a long way toward making it happen.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.