WATCH: WR Jalen Nailor Is Lighting It Up at OTAs

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
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One of the more hotly debated topics in regard to how the Vikings roster will shake out revolves around the wide receiver position. Minnesota drafted Jordan Addison in the first round of the 2023 Draft, and the assumption is that he will be battling for the Vikings WR2 spot right away. That being said, K.J. Osborn is not going to just hand the role over to him in a contract year.

Additionally, behind Addison and Osborn, the WR4 role for Minnesota should be one to keep an eye on as well. The role of this player will largely consist of being a burner that has the speed to take the top off a defense and make a big play. One player vying for that job right now? Jalen Nailor.

WR Jalen Nailor
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

In 2022, that WR4 role was largely held by a different Jalen. Of course, I am speaking of Jalen Reagor, who the Vikings acquired via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the season’s start.

However, with the way Nailor has been playing early on in OTAs, it may not be much of a debate for long. Take a look at this play from Friday afternoon where Nailor burns right past the Vikings new CB1, Byron Murphy for a touchdown.

Nailor has been known for his track speed ever since, well, he was winning state championships in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4×100, and 4×200 during high school. His 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine last spring is not quite indicative of how explosive he is as an athlete.

Why You Should Watch the Vikings Final Preseason Game
Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Yesterday wasn’t the first time we’ve seen highlight plays of Nailor lighting it up, either. A few days earlier, we got a clip of him doing some clean route-running before toe-tapping to complete a catch against the starting defense.

In his rookie season of 2022, Nailor was largely limited to being a special teams contributor. For a portion of training camp, he was in the mix for the job of punt returner, but ultimately, that position was given to Reagor.

By the end of the regular season, though, we got to see glimpses of what Nailor could do with the offense. Namely, in the final two weeks of the season, he caught a combined seven of eight targets for 151 yards and a touchdown. In all, he finished the year with nine receptions that went for 179 yards, including his first career reception that came on a fake punt against the New Orleans Saints.

Plays in OTAs don’t necessarily mean that a player is bound to make a huge impact on a roster during the regular season. That being said, if Nailor wasn’t playing well in these snaps, it may be a reason for concern. This momentum that he is building up now should be a great launching pad into training camp next month.

If nothing else, Nailor is proving that the Vikings may have found yet another gem in the late rounds of the draft. Keep in mind, Osborn was a fifth-round pick back in 2020, so if the Vikings WR room shakes out to have Justin Jefferson, Addison, Osborn, and Nailor in the top four, Minnesota will have two first-round picks and two Day 3 picks at the top of their room.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.