Veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was cut recently by the Cleveland Browns in a cap-related move, and is currently making visits to various teams trying to find a landing spot for 2014.
The Vikings were originally thought to be interested in speaking with Jackson, but Darren Wolfson reports that contrary to indications, Jackson will not be visiting with Minnesota.
Wolfson concludes, rather obviously, that the Vikings would therefore seem to be out of the running for Jackson.
The former Browns linebacker looked like a good potential fit with the Vikings, given his solid production, good reputation as a leader and – most importantly – relatively modest price.
But for whatever reason, the Vikes just aren’t interested in looking at Jackson. Or Jackson isn’t interested in being looked at by them. Or both.
The Vikes, one way or another, will have to address the linebacker position this offseason. Chad Greenway is the only established starter currently on the roster, and most agree that he is sliding.
Free agent options could include the return of Desmond Bishop.
In-house options include second-year players Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, and third-year player Audie Cole.
Cole ascended to starting MLB status last year after Erin Henderson’s first DUI arrest, but he best projects as a backup/special teams player. Mauti and Hodges are both rather unknown quantities at this point.
The uncertainty about these returning players is why the Vikings might have wanted to bring in a player like Jackson, who brings experience and leadership to the table. The one thing the Vikings most need on defense, besides talent, is a little stabilizing presence.
They lost their leader when Antoine Winfield was allowed to walk, and now they have to find a new player who brings that steadying influence to the lineup. Jackson might have been that guy, but he’s clearly not in the picture.