Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) returns a punt against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings win 48-30. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Vikings Talking to DeSean Jackson?


The DeSean Jackson story has taken several turns over the past few days. Monday morning there was yet another twist in this tale, as Ed Werder reported that two teams “not yet identified publicly as having interest in Jackson” are in deep negotiations with the former Eagles wide receiver.

Jackson, who was cut late last week in the immediate wake of reports about alleged gang affiliations, has been connected to multiple teams. That list is led by the Redskins, who will reportedly visit Jackson on Monday.

The Patriots, Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, Bills and Buccaneers have also been mentioned in connection with Jackson.

One team not yet mentioned at all as having interest in Jackson would be the Minnesota Vikings. Could the Vikings be one of the two mystery teams in “deep negotiation” with Jackson?

It seems unlikely, at least on the surface, that the Vikings would be pursuing Jackson. The receiver’s asking price will likely be fairly high, and though the Vikings have the cap room to offer him a decent first year deal with the possibility of more money coming down the road, would they really risk that kind of financial commitment to a player with Jackson’s character red flags?

But what about those character red flags? How legit are the reports of Jackson’s alleged gang ties?

The fact on Jackson is that, though he is perceived as a hot-head and possibly even a headache, his legal record is clean. Nothing Jackson has done off the field has risen to the level of a true red flag, unless you’re overly sensitive to a guy flashing supposed “gang signs” in pictures.

To me, the recent bad reports on Jackson smack of the same kind of shenanigans that were pulled ahead of the Vikings’ decision to trade Percy Harvin. Leak bad reports to the press as part of a smear campaign against the player, to help sell the move with the fanbase.

It’s likely that Chip Kelly’s dictatorial delusions, plus concerns about Jackson’s high cap number, had more to do with the release than any fears about Jackson’s outside activities.

So once you wipe aside the possibly overblown character concerns, you’re left with pure player evaluation. On that count, there can be little doubt of Jackson’s value. He is a unique and dangerous offensive weapon, whether you use him in space or down the field.

The downfield aspect of Jackson’s game is what might make him intriguing to the Vikings. Cordarrelle Patterson showed last year that he can be an X-factor player, but he has yet to prove himself as a true downfield threat.

Greg Jennings can certainly hit the deep strike occasionally, but he is not a genuine big play threat on a consistent basis. Jerome Simpson has some value as a downfield player but he is limited, and there is a possibility that he will have to serve a suspension in 2014 after his DUI bust.

The Vikings may not have an immediate need at wide receiver, but you throw that out when looking at a player of Jackson’s caliber.

And if you’re still concerned about Jackson’s potential to be disruptive and a bad locker room influence? Remember that the Vikings do have some fairly solid veteran leadership on the offensive side, with Matt Cassel at QB, Adrian Peterson at RB and Greg Jennings at WR.

You also have very experienced, established people on the coaching staff, including Mike Zimmer who has a reputation for taking “difficult” players under his wing and making it work.

When you take everything into consideration, maybe it doesn’t seem such a wild notion that the Vikings would pursue Jackson. It all comes down to the money question.

Are the Vikings willing to spend to bring in Jackson? Would Jackson be willing to work for less money on a one year prove-it deal, or a long-term contract that limits the Vikings’ cap hit in the first year? Is this a gamble worth taking?

We’ll see what transpires.

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Tags: Desean Jackson Minnesota Vikings

  • ggfb20

    If the Vikings sign Jackson it’s a sign they want to win now! I say go for it but with guranteed money in first two years…. Then take a QB in 2nd Rd, defense in 1st perhaps a corner. With rest of picks just fill all remaining holes in roster for depth as well.

  • MikeH123

    Signing money complainer Desean Jackson would be admitting the Vikings wasted 3 draft picks on Cordarelle Patterson.

    • ggfb20

      Signing Jackson would allow the Vikings to switch to a single back set with A. D., Rudolph, Jennings, Patterson, and Jackson! Just imagine any QB you throw in there will be a probowl player. Those guys would set each other up. No 8 man boxes, plus an extra db on the field. No blitzs because none of the recievers can be left in single coverage. That lineup would give even Seattle problems. If Zimmer could draft a lock down corner in the 1st, a QB in the 2nd or 3rd, a lb in the 2nd or 3rd, a safety in the 4th, o. lineman in the 5th, and spare parts with the rest of the draft. This would be an amazing team. Zimmer could build a top rated D while having a high scoring offense that would have more balance than any other team in the NFL.

      • MikeH123

        Your plan won’t work:
        1) AD has run much better with a FB especially Fulton. (maybe no more 8 man boxes but you are also pulling a blocker for AD)
        2) the Vikings O-line is better for the run than pass,
        3) the Vikings lack a QB to spread the field and won’t get one in the second round, and without a QB with a strong arm and accuracy deep the Ds will just flood the underneath routes
        4) Picking up Jackson might make more sense if they had a good QB but he is money complainer so I wouldn’t want him anyway,
        5) the money could be better used elsewhere especially on D.
        6) Cordoralle Patterson was drafted to fulfill the role of Jackson (they don’t need another especially since they have other WRs like Wright and Simpson),

        A much better plan is to draft a top QB (the most important position) in the FIRST round. I especially like Johnny Football improvising skills with AD. I agree they need a deep threat WR if they get a good QB but for this year they can continue to develop Patterson (who showed some potential at the end of the season). Hopefully Patterson pans out but if not they draft another WR next year.