Following Minnesota's final exhibition game last Thursday against Denver, Darius Reynaud felt certain he'd be spending his third NFL season with the Vikings. There was no doubt in his mind he had performed well enough to make the team as a punt returner and running back.
But while talking to his wife Dominique after the game, Reynaud said he had kind of a premonition. "I kid you not, I said I had a good feeling that I'd be going to New York," Reynaud said today in the Giants' locker room. "I didn't know which team, but just New York. Friday they called and said I was traded to the Giants. I was kind of surprised, but I had a good feeling about it.
"I knew [Domenik] Hixon went down and they didn't have a return man. I was just putting things in perspective and thinking the Giants didn't have a good return man. Here I am."
Despite his premontion, Reynaud said he was surprised when the call came on Friday night informing him of the trade. "It happened so fast I'm still in shock," Reynaud said. "I thought I was good. I had a great preseason all four games. I wasn't worried about anything until I got that phone call on Friday night and they told me I was traded."
Reynaud was accompanied to the Giants by backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels. His primary responsibility will be to replace Hixon on punt returns, but he also might return kickoffs, and he can play the gunner position on special teams when the Giants are the kicking team. At Minnesota, Reynaud was making the transition from wide receiver to running back and was being groomed for a third-down role, but the Giants had him working at wide receiver today.
"I was a legit running back for this year," Reynaud said. "Everything was looking good. But I've been playing receiver the last two years at Minnesota. It's not a big adjustment. I can still read coverages."
Rosenfels, who saw Reynaud develop for two years with the Vikings, provided a glowing scouting report on the Giants' new return man. "He's very talented," Rosenfels said. "Last year, he was more of a slot receiver. He's very strong, very quick, and he's a powerful player. When Percy Harvin was drafted and took that role, Darius moved to tailback. They were looking for a third-down back this year. He's very talented with the ball in his hands in space.
"As a punt returner, he was one of the better ones I've been around. So, it was very surprising to me they let him go because we got a lot of great drive starts from him last year because of his punt returns. He's one of those players who may not fit a mold for an exact position, but he's a good football player and an exciting kid to watch."