J.J. Nelson could make his Oakland Raiders debut in Minnesota
The speedy J.J. Nelson put together a productive training camp, but hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug since then. The Oakland Raiders are looking towards this weeks game in Minnesota for a possible return to the playing field.
The Oakland Raiders offense is looking for someone on the roster to emerge as another reliable pass catching option for Derek Carr. Preferably, they could use a player that can take the top off the defense and stretch the field with speed.
Well, J.J. Nelson made significant progress this week, being a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday. He could be a huge boost for the Oakland offense, as they’ve struggled getting their wide receivers going early on, despite the production from Tyrell Williams.
Nelson has lethal straight line speed, recording a 4.28 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. If Nelson is a full go this week, expect the Raiders to line him up all over the field to find mismatches in the Vikings defense.
Jon Gruden appears to be optimistic that Nelson could hit the field for the first time in a Raiders uniform this week.
"“He’s a guy that had a great training camp for us,” said Gruden during his Friday press conference. “If you remember, he was getting a lot of reps, for a lot of reasons and he took advantage of them. We need the speed, no doubt. We obviously made a trade to acquire more speed, so hopefully those two guys can give us something that we need.”"
Gruden has made it a focus to bolster up the speed of his roster in all aspects, and Nelson is arguably the fastest guy on the team. Throughout the first two weeks of the season, the Raiders have struggled to find someone to take over as the No. 2 wide receiver in 2019, as Tyrell Williams has emerged as a true WR1.
If Nelson is active on Sunday, one thing that is certain, his speed will be the focus when drawing up plays for the speedster. The Raiders struggled to find options in the passing game outside of Williams and tight end Darren Waller through Week 2, but Nelson could be the x-factor this team is looking for.