Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell knows a thing or two about climbing the ladder as an NFL wide receiver. A 12th-round pick. . .yes, the draft once had 12 rounds (and more). . .in the 1991 NFL Draft, McCardell wound up having a prolific NFL career that saw him catch 883 passes for 11,373 yards because he worked his tail off for a long time to get to the top of the league at his position.
Coach McCardell must have seen something in sixth-round pick Jalen Nailor, because McCardell reportedly “pounded the table” for the Vikings to draft Nailor when the Vikings’ second sixth-round pick came on the clock on Saturday afternoon.
Nailor is a burner at wide receiver that led the Big Ten Conference in yards per catch in 2020, averaging nearly 20 yards per reception. He also put together a ridiculous performance in the Spartans’ victory over Rutgers in October of this past season, as he had three first-half touchdown receptions that each covered at least 60 yards.
The big knock against Nailor, however, has been the injury bug, as he missed time in each season he played in East Lansing.
If he can overcome that, he’s got a real shot to crack the bottom part of the Vikings’ depth chart at wide receiver. The first four spots are set with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, but beyond that things are wide open and the Vikings are going to carry at least five receivers, so Nailor will definitely have his opportunities to justify Keenan McCardell’s faith in him.