Minnesota Vikings Know Who They Want to Win the WR3 Job

Minnesota Vikings, Jalen Nailor
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The jury’s still out on quarterback, but even if Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy are the real deal, it won’t be easy replacing Kirk Cousins’ production. Otherwise, the Minnesota Vikings have largely improved their offense.

Yet, one potentially glaring weakness is the lack of a clear frontrunner to win the No. 3 wide receiver job after K.J. Osborn’s departure. Sure, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has collected plenty of bodies; the Vikings have 11 receivers on the roster, but who’s the in-house leader?

Right now, it has to be Brandon Powell, Kevin O’Connell’s carryover from his Los Angeles Rams tenure. Powell did perform admirably when called upon last season, but he’s also the team’s leading candidate to handle punt return, and possibly kick returning duties too.

Another possibility is former Buffalo receiver Trent Sherfield, who brings a lot more size to the lineup as a 6-foot-1, 205-receiver who can also take on defenders as a run blocker. But aside from a 417-yard season with Miami in 2022, he’s never been a consistent threat offensively.

Jalen Nailor can snag Minnesota Vikings’ WR3 job

Jalen Nailor
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from Powell and Sherfield, the Vikings have another dude trying to emerge, and the coaching staff is all in on his development. In fact, you could argue they want him to win the WR3 job, former Michigan State star and 2022 6th round pick, Jalen Nailor.

Related: NFL Insider Believes J.J. McCarthy Has Basically No Chance to Start Season as Vikings QB1

Aptly earning the nickname “Speedy,” Nailor has already shown coaches what he’s capable of, not just during practice but also in live action during the regular season. Despite being the 191st overall pick, Nailor found a way to get into the lineup as a rookie, where he caught 9-of-13 targets for 179 yards and a touchdown for a robust 19.9 yards per reception.

The biggest issue of the 25-year-old’s career has been an inability to stay healthy. Even during mandatory minicamp, Nailor wasn’t available due to the flu. While he can’t control his health or durability, Nailor does have a chance to control his future with the Vikings.

Related: Minnesota Vikings Already ‘Love’ Their New Longshot NFL Prospect X

And you could make an argument that’s what the coaching staff would like to see happen. When KOC talks about Nailor, you can see how excited he is about the talent. At the end of the day, if obviously comes down to his ability to stay on the field. But if he can, it almost seems as if the WR3 job is Jalen’s to lose.

“That third receiver spot is going to be very competitive. There’s a bunch of guys that had really good springs. I mean Jalen Nailor had another really good offseason program. When he’s healthy and on the field, he shows up every single opportunity he’s gotten. That’s our challenge to him is sometimes things are out of your control and then we understand that, but for him to take that next step, we’re gonna need to see him out there a lot as part of that group.”

Kevin O’Connell on Jalen Nailor competing for WR3 job

While every year of his career is important, Nailor has to know this upcoming season might be the biggest opportunity he’ll ever receive. There’s no clear frontrunner blocking his playing time anymore; it’s all just about being available each and every day.

Tell us what you think below. Can Jalen Nailor win the Minnesota Vikings WR3 job out of camp?

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