Jackson or not, enough talent in Minnesota

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
5:03
PM ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Let's summarize the Minnesota Vikings' day at the receiver position. In rough chronological order:
  1. Percy Harvin suffered a migraine episode serious enough to keep him from practicing. His availability for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions is unknown.
  2. Free agent receiver Hank Baskett signed a contract and made it on the field in time for practice. He was one of four healthy receivers on the field, along with Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo.
  3. The team failed to reach a trade agreement for San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, who will now remain suspended through the sixth game of the season. That deal was the Vikings' only legitimate chance for upgrading their patchwork group in a substantive way.

To put it nicely, the Vikings' receivers are in flux. But I agree with what tailback Adrian Peterson said shortly before the deadline when asked if he thought the team needed a big-time receiver.

"I feel like we have a lot of talent in our locker room," Peterson said. "Some guys can step up and make some plays and be productive in the offense. We've got that."

(Interestingly, Peterson spoke in the slot normally set aside for quarterback Brett Favre. We'll hear Favre's reaction Thursday.)

There is no doubt that Jackson would have improved the Vikings' talent base at receiver, but there are other issues they need to address as well. What's more, Peterson is right. The Vikings have a roster filled with elite-level talent on both sides of the ball. They might have a below-average receiving corps, but that neither excuses their 0-2 record nor prohibits them from quickly turning things around and making a run deep into the playoffs.

Call me crusty, but a team with Peterson, Favre, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, receiver Bernard Berrian, left guard Steve Hutchinson, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, defensive end Jared Allen, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, cornerback Antoine Winfield and place-kicker Ryan Longwell is more than stocked for a playoff run.

In fact, those who pushed internally for a Jackson deal were fortunate to have a willing audience in owner Zygi Wilf. The Associated Press reported the Vikings were willing to pay Jackson $9 million for 12 games this season. I can tell you with some certainty that there are many NFL owners who, if they were in Wilf's position, would never have authorized this pursuit in the first place.

Instead, those owners would have told the personnel department and the coaching staff to take their talented roster, one that includes 10 Pro Bowl players and totals the second-highest payroll in the NFL, and find a way to make it work.

The Vikings had hoped Jackson could fill the big-play role of Sidney Rice, who is out until at least midseason because of a hip injury. In the end, it doesn't appear the Vikings have the firepower to replicate their record-breaking passing attack of 2009. But surely there is more than one path to success this season. There will have to be adjustments, from both schematic and a mindset perspective. But if you want to talk about pure talent, the Vikings have enough. They just have to channel it better.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Insider