Vikings Named Top Fit for $39 Million CB, Former 1st-Rounder

Adoree' Jackson, Giants

Getty Cornerback Adoree' Jackson, formerly of the New York Giants.

The Minnesota Vikings have hammered away at improvements to the secondary for years, but the unit’s talent and performance have improved only minimally despite those efforts.

ESPN analyst Matt Bowen recently suggested the Vikings as the top team fit for a couple of remaining free agents, including former New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, even after Minnesota looked to the NFL draft yet again in 2024 to bolster the secondary.

“The Vikings drafted cornerback Khyree Jackson out of Oregon in the fourth round of April’s draft. He’s long at 6-foot-4 and has the physical traits to challenge wide receivers,” Bowen wrote on Monday, May 20. “But there’s still a need to add cornerback depth for an aggressive defense under coordinator Brian Flores that will heat up the pocket. Last season, Minnesota led the NFL with a blitz rate of 49.4%. That’s a combination of zone and man pressure, which fits the aggressive coverage traits and eyes of Adoree’ Jackson.”

Adoree’ Jackson Has Been Solid Cover CB for Majority of NFL Career, Despite Lack of Splash Plays

Adoree' Jackson

GettyFormer New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

Bowen added that Flores’ scheme should help Jackson add more explosive plays to a resumé that lacks too many of them.

“Even with a lack of ball production (four career interceptions), Jackson can provide competition in the Minnesota secondary this summer, and the scheme can put him in a position to make plays,” Bowen continued.

While Jackson hasn’t made several huge splash plays in the form of interceptions (4) or defensive touchdowns (1), he has been relatively consistent in his ability to hold opposing quarterbacks to lower completion percentages than many of his contemporaries. Jackson has held opposing QBs to completion rates of less than 56.5% in three of the last six seasons, including rates of 52.1% and 51.7% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Jackson wasn’t as good last year, the last of his three seasons in New York, allowing a collective completion rate of 65.9% and a collective passer rating of 95.5.

Adoree’ Jackson Makes Sense for Struggling Vikings Secondary at Right Price

Adoree' Jackson

GettyFormer New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

A former first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2017 (No. 18 overall) out of USC, Jackson signed a three-year deal worth $39 million total to join the Giants in March 2021.

The cornerback will play next season at the age of 29, which should make him more attractive to a CB-needy team like the Vikings who has been focused on rebuilding its roster with younger players since general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took the reins of the organization ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Spotrac projects Jackson’s market value at $10.4 million annually over a new three-year deal (more than $31 million total), which is likely too high for a Minnesota team with less than $16.7 million in salary cap space remaining for the 2024 season as of Monday.

That isn’t to say the Vikings won’t invest further in their defensive backfield. Merely the suggestion from Bowen that the team continue to pursue free agent options at cornerback heading into the summer indicates how significant the need is for more depth at the position.

Minnesota finished 24th in the NFL last season against the pass, surrendering a total of 3,986 yards through the air to opposing offenses (234.5 yards per game).

That tally must improve in 2024 and is disconcerting considering the improved QB talent across the NFC North Division, which includes No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams of the Chicago Bears, a more established Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers and the recently-paid Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions who just signed a $212 million extension coming off arguably the second-best year of his career.

Read More