Prediction No. 3
Brandon Powell will seize the opportunity as a punt returner
Another under-the-radar player that has been making an impression during camp is Brandon Powell. A former receiver who played under O’Connell with the Los Angeles Rams, Powell has been solid catching passes, but his true ticket to make the team might be his ability is returning kicks.
Powell’s situation is interesting as he has the ability to supplant either Nwangwu or Jalen Reagor this preseason. The most likely scenario sees Powell replacing Reagor, who the Vikings acquired shortly before the start of last season but don’t be surprised if he winds up replacing Nwangwu as the team’s primary kick returner.
The reason for this is because of the NFL’s new kickoff rules. Similar to the rule that has been instituted in college football since 2018, teams can now call for a touchback with a fair catch inside the 25-yard line which may entice teams to just take the solid field position as opposed to taking one to the house.
While Nwangwu has shown dynamic ability as a kick returner, he hasn’t been able to find a role on offense. After suffering an injury in the early weeks of camp, Nwangwu might have an uphill battle to make the team, but it might not be as dire as the situation Reagor is facing.
After a disappointing first season in Minnesota, Reagor is firmly on the roster bubble. With Powell’s previous experience in the offense, it could be a matter of time before he leaps Reagor on the depth chart and cements his own spot on the roster.