Three Deep. Words that automatically bring you back to the late 1990s, where a trio of Minnesota Vikings wide receivers made plays unstoppable. Those who bleed purple will immediately think of Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Jake Reed. While Carter and Moss frequently stood in the spotlight during their tenure, Reed was still one of the best receivers in Vikings history.
Remembering Jake Reed: An Underrated Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver
Jake Reed, a former Grambling State University athlete, was a third-round pick by Minnesota in 1991. But Reed’s rookie year wasn’t much to brag about. It wasn’t until 1994 that the wide receiver came into the limelight, with a stretch of four incredible years. During the 1994 season, Reed finished with 85 catches for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. Together, Reed and fellow receiver Cris Carter made 207 receptions, which was an NFL record at the time. The duo became the first to accumulate 1,000 yards each in four consecutive seasons. In 1995, Reed set a career-high with nine touchdowns. The following year, in 1996, he finished with 1,320 receiving yards. In 1997, the wide receiver concluded with 1,138 receiving yards.
Reed marveled fans with his graceful, almost balletic strides as he leaped to catch the spiraling footballs. He had sure hands and the ability to catch the ball in tight windows. The Georgia native floated on his quick feet, slipping and sliding between anyone who tried to stop him in his tracks. Reed’s ability to run at full speed and suddenly halt to turn the other way often left opposing players tumbling into the ground. Similar to Carter and Moss, Reed had deft instincts and a willingness to sacrifice his body to protect and capture the ball. He was undoubtedly a threat to opposing teams.
Reed’s Humble Character
There were many big moments during Reed’s time on the field but what some will remember most about him is his class act and humbleness. Reed never showed an ounce of bitterness towards Carter and Moss for overshadowing him. He still played big and to his full potential without ever bringing drama on the field.
Reed’s injuries never cut him short from doing his job either. It was evident during the New York Giants playoff game in December of 1997. Reed injured his leg early in the game but continued to stay on the field. The team scored 10 points in the last 90 seconds, finishing with a victory of 23-22 against the Giants. However, Minnesota went on to lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs that year.
Reed had a good run with the Minnesota Vikings, but the streak snapped in 1998 when his injuries became a problem midway through the season. Reed underwent back surgery and had hamstring problems related to the bad back. Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss was able to make up for the loss of Reed, bringing the Vikings a fresh start.
Reed went on to spend one year with the New Orleans Saints before returning to the Vikings in 2001. He then flipped back to New Orleans for a season before retiring in 2002.
Reed currently ranks fourth all-time on the Vikings receiving list with 6,999 yards, sixth in receptions with 450, and seventh in touchdowns with 36.