In a surprise move last week, the Minnesota Vikings acquired wide receiver Jalen Reagor from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a couple of draft picks. Reagor you may remember was the receiver that was taken two picks before All-World end Justin Jefferson in the 2020 NFL Draft. So, in a strange redux, the Vikings now employ both Jefferson and the guy who was destined to be an NFL draft trivia quiz question for decades.
Let’s examine the chronology of this story. Both Justin Jefferson and Jalen Reagor were considered premium picks before the 2020 draft. Jefferson was considered to be the fourth or fifth best receiver prospect in the draft by most polls. Reagor ranked lower but was still considered a solid second-round choice.
Jalen Reagor With the 21st Pick
So, on draft day, after the names of Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb were called by Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Philadelphia Eagles chose speedy wide receiver, Jalen Reagor, from Texas Christion University with the 21st pick in the draft. And with the 22nd pick in the draft, the Minnesota Vikings chose freakishly athletic receiver Justin Jefferson out of Louisiana State University.
Reactions to these moves were mixed. Many experts thought that while Reagor had been picked early, he had the skill set to immediately help the Eagles. His speed and return skills were lauded and he was considered the perfect compliment to veteran Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson.
Other fans and experts thought that Jefferson should have been a lock for this pick. Most rankings also had receivers like Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Michael Pittman ranked ahead of Reagor. And the Vikings were ecstatic when Jefferson fell to them at pick 22.
Trouble in Philadelphia
What happened to Jalen Reagor in Philadelphia? In week 2 of his rookie season, Reagor suffered a ligament tear in his thumb in a game against the Rams. He was placed on the Injured Reserve list and missed five games with the injury. Reagor returned but he was still suffering the lingering effects of the injury.
That coupled with his ongoing issues with dropping passes doomed him with the ardent but unforgiving Eagles fans. He barely made the Eagles’ 53-man roster out of training camp this year and had slipped to number five on the Philadelphia wide receivers depth chart. The Eagles decided that it was now time to cut their losses and try to move Reagor.
Jalen Reagor and Justin Jefferson Together at Last
And Justin Jefferson. Everyone knows how that story has played out. His two-year statistical totals, 196 receptions, 3016 receiving yards, and 17 touchdown receptions only tell part of the story. The two-time Pro Bowler is one of the most dynamic players in the league and the face of the franchise.
So, what are the Vikings getting in Jalen Reagor? The most immediate need he fills for the team is as a lethal punt-runner. But this gifted athlete is only two years removed from being a first-round draft choice. Perhaps head coach Kevin O’Connell and Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell can smooth out the edges and work on his hand-eye coordination. The possibilities are endless and too intriguing to pass up.