Promising Vikings WR Suffers Setback, Out for at Least 4 Games

Jalen Nailor

Getty Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor.

The Minnesota Vikings will be without promising second-year wide receiver Jalen Nailor for at least the next four games.

Minnesota placed Nailor on the team’s injured reserve list on Thursday, September 21, after he was limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury. Highly favored by the organization, Nailor made the 53-man roster after he spent the majority of training camp out with a separate injury.

The Vikings will need someone to step into the gunner role on special teams with Nailor out for at least the next four weeks.

He is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster for Week 7, but Minnesota will have to clear a roster spot for him with Cam Akers taking his spot in the meantime.

 Jalen Nailor Was Next in Line for Vikings’ Starting WR Trio

Jalen Nailor

GettyJalen Nailor during the Vikings’ 2023 season opener.

A 2021 sixth-round pick out of Michigan State, Nailor was a player in the draft that wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell pounded the table for during a pre-draft meeting.

“We’re always looking for guys who can finish and score,” Vikings director of college scouting Mike Sholiton said of Nailor. “I know Keenan was in there pounding the table for him.”

Nailor proved his mettle his rookie season by making the 53-man roster. He played primarily in a special teams role but flashed in the final two games of the regular season.

Nailor secured three passes for 89 yards receiving and a touchdown in a Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, followed by a 4-catch, 62-yard outing against the Chicago Bears in the regular-season finale.

Nailor was effectively the fourth wide receiver on the Vikings’ depth chart behind Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn.

With Osborn’s contract set to expire next offseason, Nailor could very well be tapped to be the No. 3 receiver in the offense in 2024. His development into that role has hit a snag this season with his placement on the injured reserve list but should be noteworthy later this season.

Vikings Address Alexander Mattison’s Role After Trading for Cam Akers

Alexander Mattison

GettyVikings running back Alexander Mattison

The Vikings made a move to improve the running game on Wednesday by trading for Akers.

That’s put Alexander Mattison‘s footing with the team into question after he was penned as the team’s bell cow all offseason.

Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips addressed Mattison’s role moving forward, saying that the Vikings haven’t lost confidence in the fifth-year back and O’Connell would decide who starts Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“We haven’t lost confidence in Alex Mattison,” Phillips said, per ESPN. “I will say that. Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple turnovers in the run game where we obviously need to clean that up. Everyone’s aware of that. But we still feel very strongly in Alex and [backup Ty Chandler] and those guys being able to go in and produce. We know we have to be better in the run game. A lot of that starts with us, and the players fundamentally. All those things we’ve addressed, and from what I saw [Wednesday] in the first practice, I think it will improve dramatically.”

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