When DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles this week, his ties to the Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins nominated him for a 2021 reunion. After all, it is the infancy of the offseason, so every player that is released finds a hypothetical path to Minnesota. These just-released-free-agent spitball scenarios rarely pan out, but some folks find them irresistible.
Jackson takes center stage for the phantom “bring him to the Vikings” chatter, at least for a news cycle or so. Together, Jackson and Cousins were tremendous for the Washington Football Team. It was Jackson that was an early grabber of Cousins’ balls, aiding Cousins’ statistical production to the utmost. In fact, Jackson leads all NFL players since 2010 in receptions of 50+ yards – by a mile. He’s hauled in 35 receptions that gained 50 yards or more in the last decade. The next closest wide receivers in this metric are Mike Wallace and Jordy Nelson – with 23 apiece. Of those 35 catches of 50+ yards by Jackson since 2010, 31% were delivered by Cousins. Eight of them even went for touchdowns. Indeed, Cousins-to-Jackson was a prolific connection in Washington, and it does not receive much publicity.
Naturally, that means the two can recreate utopia at U.S. Bank Stadium, correct? Well, maybe. But several other factors lurk on the potential marriage of Jackson and the Vikings – many of them undesirable.
Injuries – Yes, Those
When folks reminisce on Jackson, sunshine and rainbows grace their thoughts. The perception of Jackson is that of his peak performance. Think of it as nostalgia.
The Vikings very well could sign Jackson, enabling a rejuvenation of his mid-20s with Cousins in control of the offense. Yet, these types of transactions usually end with a whimper. Why? Because Jackson is not in his mid-20s anymore.
He will be a 35-year-old wide receiver in 2021 – one that has missed 75% of all football games due to injury in the last two seasons. Jackson might join the club in Eagan totally revitalized, but this isn’t a Madden video game. Injuries matter. And as one ages, they increase. It is more likely that Jackson is in the twilight of his career – like every other 34-year-old wideout – than he is on the cusp of a gigantic WR3 campaign with the Vikings next season.
Remember this social media post from Jackson last year?
“Because the white Jews know that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep America’s secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were. The white citizens of America will be terrified to know that all this time they’ve been mistreating and discriminating and lynching the Children of Israel.”
Nothing says “sign this guy to the Vikings” like a quote widely attributed to Adolf Hitler. Of course, men and women are entitled to redemption after boneheaded moments like this. This Instagram post should not ruin his life. He apologized after the kerfuffle.
But the Vikings ownership is comprised of Jewish-Americans. There is a world where Zygi and Mark Wilf can forgive and forget, but asking them to pounce on a player for employment that referenced Hitler for subject material in an odd marriage. Ordinarily, using the orchestrator of the Holocaust as a social media flex is not good business when dealing with Jewish-Americans. Or any non-bigoted humans in general.
“Ties to Cousins” Probably Not Enough
It is verifiably true that Cousins and Jackson had gridiron chemistry – underrated in most circles. The Vikings could ink Jackson for one final hurrah as he is seeking a job, and Minnesota is trying to win a Super Bowl. But this would make for awfully strange bedfellows considering Jackson’s recent injuries woes and his apparent affinity for Hitler.
More realistically, Minnesota will find a Tajae Sharpe-type WR3 in free agency for 2021 — but actually use the new guy this time. Or – the team can spend one of its four 4th-Round draft picks on an upstart WR3. If neither of those alternatives is on general manager Rick Spielman’s agenda, the Vikings have a tight end in Irv Smith Jr. thirsty for targets and a breakout season.
It is totally in-bounds to fantasize the “what if” of a Jackson-to-the-Vikings transaction, but the arguments against it are a bit too damning.