Vikings’ New CB Is Ready to Go

Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson hauls in a pass during Oregon Pro Day Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at the Moshofsky Center in Eugene, Ore. © Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings have been linked to Xavien Howard since the moment the Miami Dolphins jettisoned him, and while there could still be a marriage between the sides, Khyree Jackson was a steal in the 4th round of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Oregon Ducks product seems to agree with that sentiment, and he’s clearly ready to go from day one.

Vikings’ New CB Is Ready to Go

Oregon, and the Pac-12 as a whole, has been notably criticized over the years for being home to teams that don’t play defense. Fast offenses filled with playmakers and skill position players put up points in droves, and it seems to take plenty of air away from defensive performances. That’s probably warranted more than not, but the Pac-12 might have been college football’s best conference a season ago.

new cb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Ducks hired Dan Lanning and his Georgia background, the goal was to build a complete roster that could get it done on both sides of the football. Having players like Khyree Jackson at the cornerback spot is a chief reason that Lanning felt comfortable no matter who his team was facing a season ago.

Minnesota needs a starter opposite Byron Murphy Jr., and the 6’4” Jackson feels like he’s ready to be that guy from the jump. On a phone call with Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, he said, “You got the best corner, by far. I’m gonna show you, day one.”

Just Give Brian Flores
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

As a standout on the Ducks defense, Jackson allowed just 19 catches despite playing in a Pac-12 loaded with quarterback and wide receiver prospects. He wound up with three interceptions and ten passes defended while giving up only a single touchdown. Across the entirety of the season, Jackson was only targeted 38 times, which highlights how little the opposition tended to look his way.

Last season was his 7th year out of high school as he had an unconventional journey to this point, and that brought him to Oregon with a very defined purpose. Mature and looking to make an impact, his goal was to play at the next level and show he belonged on a weekly basis. Confidence is something he exudes, and as a 25-year-old looking to make his mark at the highest level after just one year starting at the FBS level, it’s something he needs.

brian flores
Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Flores is getting a player that has traits and size you can’t teach. He has the tenacity to come in right away and turn heads. Had his production been replicated right out of high school or over the past three seasons at the FBS level, he’s probably a talent not available past the first round. Minnesota stands to benefit in a big way here, and Jackson starting out of the gate would reflect that all coming together.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.