Vikings Trade for Polarizing 1st-Round Wide Receiver: Report

Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins

Getty Eagles receivers Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins chat on the sidelines during a 2021 game.

When the Philadelphia Eagles passed on Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 draft, the Minnesota Vikings virtual draft room ignited with excitement.

Selecting Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick after the Eagles, Minnesota found their future franchise receiver in Jefferson, who’s posted the most yards (3,016) of any wideout in their first two seasons in NFL history.

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The receiver Philadelphia selected instead hasn’t had such a good run with the Eagles. Jalen Reagor, the fourth receiver off the board in a highly coveted 2020 draft class, has been scrutinized for his lack of production over the past two seasons.

Jefferson was cause for an “internal rift” in the Eagles organization over selecting Reagor instead. Reagor’s had to answer to a litany of critiques over the past two years from fans, saying “when the tables turn better make sure you on the right side” back in 2020.

However, the Eagles opted to not see that through after two seasons with Reagor, shopping him this offseason.

And Minnesota happens to be the team reaping the benefits of the Eagles’ ousting.


Vikings Land Reagor for a Pair of Late-Round Picks

On August 31, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Vikings acquired Reagor in a trade with the Eagles in exchange for a pair of late-round picks.

“Trade: Eagles are sending WR Jalen Reagor to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2023 7th-round pick and a 2024 conditional 4th-round pick that would deescalate to a 5th-round pick if certain statistical marks are not met, sources tell ESPN,” Schefter tweeted.

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Reagor was highly praised coming out of TCU for his blazing speed and being a home-run threat, earning comparisons to DeSean Jackson.

However, Reagor proved to leave a mark in Philadelphia, securing 64 receptions for 695 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons. Jefferson, on the other hand, tallied 88 receptions, 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns in his rookie year alone.

The comparisons are unavoidable for the two receivers who were taken back-to-back in the draft. But now, they’ll be on the same team.


Kirk Cousins Could Unlock Reagor

Throughout his college career, Reagor flashed big-play potential but struggled with drops and a lack of focus.

While many experts were spellbound by the big-play ability, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah offered a more nuanced review of Reagor.

From Jeremiah:

The production is not where you’d want it, but, man, you can see him move and he’s explosive, he’s a fluid athlete. He’ll go up and make some big-time catches, contested catches, play above the rim. But then he just has a ton of drops.

So he’s got to sort the drops. He’s gifted as a returner but then he’s got a bunch of muffed punts. There’s some people that really like him and some people that are down on him. I’m somewhere in the middle. He’s my 56th player but he’s my 10th receiver, and I know some teams that think he’s the fifth receiver. It wouldn’t be stunning to see him find his way either into the back of one or very early in round No. 2.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is far from accurate on deep throws. Reagor posted a 61.5 passer rating on throws of 20 or more yards in 2021, per Pro Football Focus’ 2022 Quarterback Annual. He ranked 31st out of 36 quarterbacks on throws along the left sidelines and 22nd along the right sideline. Philadelphia schemed to keep Hurts from making those throws with Hurts attempting the fifth-fewest throws from 20 or more yards out along the sidelines.

It showed in Reagor’s lack of production. 124 wide receivers drafted in any round since 1970 who’ve started at least 24 games in their first two seasons, Reagor’s 695 yards ranks 117th, per NBC Sports Philadelphia.

And while Reagor may find himself buried on the depth chart to begin the season, he could see more success as an outside deep threat in Minnesota.

Kirk Cousins posted a 120.7 passer rating on throws of 20 or more yards in 2021. He also ranked inside the top-six quarterbacks on throws deeper than 20 yards along the sidelines.

Reagor will likely have to build his chemistry with Cousins throughout the season, but at the very least, Minnesota has another weapon in its arsenal that could capitalize on defenses keying on Adam Thielen and Jefferson.

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