N’Keal Harry was struggling to find consistent playing time and could barely stay on a practice squad. And now he gets a chance to try to make an impact for the Vikings for at least the next four weeks.
Minnesota placed wide receiver Justin Jefferson on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and elevated Harry to the 53-man roster. While the former Patriots wideout probably won’t have the same kind of numbers Jefferson put up in the first five games, coach Kevin O’Connell has liked what he’s seen from the 25-year-old.
“All he’s done since he got here — he’s physical in the run game,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “He provides something a little different at his size than we have in the room. We have many capable blockers but he brings a level of physicality.”
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It’s been a difficult path in the NFL for Harry, who was drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2021 draft. He has struggled to stay healthy and never reached the end of his rookie contract while in New England. The Patriots traded Harry to the Chicago Bears in July 2022 and appeared in seven games.
After a year in Chicago, Harry signed with the Vikings but was cut prior to Minnesota’s preseason finale. In September the team brought him back on the practice squad to give them some depth at wide receiver.
While Harry might not be as explosive as Jefferson, O’Connell is looking forward to using him to the best of his ability.
“Different skillset,” O’Connell told reporters. “But yet we can find ways for him to be effective and looking forward to seeing him get a little bit more involved.”