Vikings Projected to Cut Ties With Former 1st-Round Wide Receiver

N'Keal Harry, Trishton Jackson

Getty Minnesota Vikings wide receivers N'Keal Harry (left) and Trishton Jackson (right).

The Minnesota Vikings have taken shots on a couple of former first-round playmakers after their initial stints in the NFL didn’t work out, most recently giving another chance to wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

Minnesota initially brought Harry in last August after three years with the New England Patriots as the No. 32 overall pick out of Arizona State in 2019 and one season with the rival Chicago Bears in 2022. The wideout failed to make the Vikings’ initial 53-man roster before landing on the practice squad. The Vikings eventually signed Harry to the active roster in early October, waived him in late November, then signed him to a reserve/futures contract on December 4.

Harry’s tenure with the organization has been back-and-forth, to say the least, though Alec Lewis of The Athletic doesn’t see the 26-year-old holding on to a roster spot through the end of training camp. Lewis projected on Thursday, May 2, that Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison will start at receiver, while Jalen Nailor, Brandon Powell and Trent Sherfield will join them on the active roster.

It still feels like the Vikings could add another receiver to the mix. Nailor has shown flashes, but injuries have gotten in the way of him getting an extensive opportunity. Sherfield can block. And Powell is reliable; the coaching staff loves him.

But besides Jefferson, whom the team wants to extend before the season, and Addison, who is going to be an important piece depending on how much time [T.J.] Hockenson might miss, the Vikings could use another weapon who can win in one-on-one coverage. Depending on how they structure Jefferson’s contract, they might have some money to make a free-agent addition.

Lewis has receivers Trishton Jackson, Daylen Baldwin, Malik Knowles and several others joining Harry on the outside looking in.

N’Keal Harry Appeared in 9 Games for Vikings Last Season, Mostly on Special Teams

GettyWide receiver N’Keal Harry was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2019.

If Minnesota goes the free agent route, that will likely spell the end of Harry’s time with the franchise — or at least his shot at a regular spot on the active roster. However, another stint on the practice squad could be possible.

Three years with the Pats saw the 6-foot, 4-inch and 225-pound wideout appear in 33 games and earn 18 starts. However, he made just 57 catches for 598 yards and 4 TDs in New England.

Harry caught 7 passes for 116 yards and a score across seven games in Chicago, but didn’t log a reception during nine regular-season appearances with Minnesota in 2023. He played just 23 offensive snaps all year to go along with 49 snaps on special teams, per Pro Football Reference.

Harry is scheduled to earn $1.125 million with the Vikings in 2024, though none of that money is fully guaranteed.

Vikings Took Swing on Former 1st-Round WR Jalen Reagor in 2022

Jalen Reagor

GettyFormer Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor.

One year prior to adding Harry, Minnesota took a flier on wideout Jalen Reagor in 2022. The Philadelphia Eagles infamously selected Reagor 21st overall in 2020, one spot ahead of the Vikings who landed Jefferson with the very next selection.

Like Harry, Reagor struggled immediately in his first NFL stint. Philadelphia cut ties with the receiver after just two seasons, and he landed with Minnesota the following year.

Reagor appeared in all 17 games for the Vikings during their run to an NFC North Division title, though mostly as a special teams player. He returned 26 punts for 167 yards, while catching only 8 passes for 104 yards and 1 TD.

The Patriots added Reagor to their roster last season, where the former Vikings wideout played in 11 games and made one start.

While Reagor didn’t work out and Harry is trending in the same direction, Minnesota has developed a pattern of taking low-risk chances on former first-round receivers who flamed out with the teams that drafted them. If Lewis is correct and the Vikings seek more firepower at the position this offseason, players in similar situations this summer will be worth watching.

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