Season Officially Over for Disappointing Vikings WR

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Less than 24 hours before the final regular season game kicks off, the Vikings made some roster moves. They signed Lucky Jackson to the 53-man roster. Jackson was a star in the XFL for the DC Defenders and earned a spot on Minnesota’s preseason roster, ultimately doing enough to land on the practice squad. To make room for him, the Vikings had bad news for one of his teammates.

Season Officially Over for Disappointing Vikings WR

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Jalen Nailor, a 2022 sixth-round selection, was placed on IR because of a concussion he suffered on December 3 in the road game in Las Vegas. Kevin O’Connell ruled him out on Friday for the season finale in Detroit, mentioning that he still has “very, very limited symptoms,” which is quite concerning, regardless of the word very.

Our responsibility is to make sure they’ve been fully medically cleared, and that has not happened yet. I do believe Jalen will be able to have a full offseason, and I do believe he’s a guy that we’ll really continue to pour into and will have a very bright future. It’s been a tough year for him, injury-wise, dating back to, really, the first day of training camp. But all we ask Jalen to do is to control what he can control, which is continuing to progress and work. And when we can get him back out there, it’ll be great for the Minnesota Vikings.

Kevin O’Connell
Season Is Officially Over for Disappointing Vikings WR
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Nailor has excellent speed, as his nickname Speedy already implies, and he had a breakout performance in last year’s blowout loss in Lambeau Field when he scored a touchdown and recorded 89 receiving yards on three receptions.

But calf and hamstring injuries have derailed his promising sophomore season after he was a star in the offseason workouts and at the beginning of training camp, looking like he could play a major role in O’Connell’s offense in Justin Jefferson’s supporting cast.

An injury kept him out of the majority of training camp, and he didn’t suit up in the preseason. He then barely played in the first two games of the regular season, primarily seeing the field on special teams before the Vikings decided to place him on IR, ruling him out for the following four contests.

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Nailor returned in Week 10 when he had a significant role, catching one pass for 16 yards as injuries decimated the receiving corps. He played on 67 snaps with quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

In the disappointing offensive performance versus the Raiders, Nailor was targeted five times and made two catches for 13 yards. It turned out that was his final outing of the 2023 season, resulting in final stats of only 29 yards in six games in an underwhelming year for Nailor. He also struggled to stay on the field at Michigan State, where he only played 26 games over four seasons.

WR Returns
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Jefferson and Jordan Addison have the two top spots in the receiver room locked up, but K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell are scheduled to leave in free agency, leaving the door open for Nailor to earn a role in his third season but staying healthy is key for the 24-year-old.

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