Vikings Listed as Match for 2 Free Agents

New York Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson (22) recovers the ball on a Carolina Panther turnover during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

By now, NFL free agency has dwindled to breadcrumbs and won’t heat up again until late August, when rosters are trimmed to 53 players. On that day, around 700 players will hit the open market.

Vikings Listed as Match for 2 Free Agents

But in May, the Minnesota Vikings are evidently the best landing spot for two notable free agents — cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and left guard Dalton Risner, according to ESPN.

Adoree’ Jackson (CB)

ESPN’s Matt Bowen named-dropped Minnesota for Jackson and explained, “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. 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.”

vikings
East Rutherford, NJ December 31, 2023 — Adoree’ Jackson of the Giants on the field during pre game warm ups. The New York Giants host the Los Angeles Rams on December 31, 2023, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. © Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Jackson, 28, spent the last three seasons in New York after four years in Tennessee. He was not re-signed by the Giants and remains on the open market. If the season began today, Minnesota would start two men from this group of contenders: Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, Mekhi Blackmon, Shaquill Griffin, Akayleb Evans, and rookie Khyree Jackson.

Bowen added, “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.”

Here’s Jackson’s Pro Football Focus resume to date:

2023 = 48.6
2022 = 72.2
2021 = 74.9
2020 = 58.7 (3 games played)
2019 = 76.2
2018 = 73.0
2017 = 75.4

Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (25) looks to stop Tennessee Titans wide receiver Mason Kinsey (18) during a training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Jackson’s career has been generally productive, with some curious down seasons and the inconvenient placement of an underwhelming campaign last year — probably why he has no new home after two months of free agency.

He could add depth to the CB room, but on paper, the Vikings have plenty of corners.

Dalton Risner (LG)

“A return to Minnesota makes the most sense here for Risner, who logged a pass block win rate of 95.5% last season (fifth among guards) while allowing just two sacks,” Bowen explained last week about a Risner reunion in Minnesota.

Dalton Risner
Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: “We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season.”

If Risner does not re-sign in Minnesota, the Vikings are expected to start Blake Brandel at the position, formerly a reservist commodity. Risner curiously hasn’t re-upped with Minnesota — or anywhere — signaling a second straight silent free agency for the savvy veteran.

Bowen added, “He can drop anchor in pass protection to close down interior rush lanes, and he displayed a rugged play style as a run-blocker in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Minnesota currently has Blake Brandel and Ed Ingram slated to start.”

When the 2023 season wrapped up and former left guard Ezra Cleveland was long gone via trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars, most Vikings fans believed Risner would re-sign in Minnesota after a successful first campaign. But then March, April, and May hit — with crickets. Meanwhile, Risner hired superagent Drew Rosenhaus in March, a sign that he wanted to avoid last year’s weird silence. So far — no luck.

The Dalton Risner
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Risner’s overall PFF grade of 57.1 didn’t set records, but his 67.4 pass-blocking score was music to the ears of Vikings fans. For years — arguably a decade — Vikings enthusiasts asked for a competent pass-blocking guard or two, and the wish was granted in 2023 with second-year lineman Ed Ingram and Risner’s midseason addition.

Fans can keep an eye on the offensive line this summer, as Risner could be an option if the aforementioned Brandel struggles at training camp. Otherwise, if the club didn’t trust Brandel, well, it probably would’ve re-signed Risner by now.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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