Vikings Rookie Tabbed as “Under the Radar” and “Overlooked”

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
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The Minnesota Vikings drafted seven rookies in April and added about 17 undrafted free agents thereafter. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and outside linebacker Dallas Turner headlined the class.

Vikings Rookie Tabbed as “Under the Radar” and “Overlooked”

This was the haul:

  • R1: J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
  • R1: Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)
  • R4: Khyree Jackson (CB, Oregon)
  • R6: Walter Rouse (OT, Oklahoma)
  • R6: Will Reichard (K, Alabama)
  • R7: Michael Jurgens (C, Wake Forest)
  • R7: Levi Drake Rodriguez (DT, Texas A&M University-Commerce)

And while fans spend most of their time daydreaming about the upsides of McCarthy and Turner, Bleacher Report name-drooped an “overlooked” Vikings rookie last week — cornerback Khyree Jackson.

new cb
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Minnesota has no shortage of cornerbacks on the current roster, but Brian Flores’ defense desperately needs a few men to shine. Most expect Byron Murphy to start Week 1, but after him, mystery ensues. Perhaps Jackson can battle for a starter’s job if the summer goes well.

BR’s Matt Holder identified six overlooked rookies leaguewide to watch at training camp in three weeks, and for Jackson, he explained, “It was surprising to see Khyree Jackson fall to the fourth round. He was ranked as the 43rd overall prospect and sixth-best cornerback on B/R’s final big board primarily due to his size and ball production last year at Oregon.”

brian flores
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The Vikings have had miserable luck drafting cornerbacks since 2015, so the team’s loyalists hope Jackson turns the tide.

“Also, the Minnesota Vikings could use some help at cornerback. Opposite Byron Murphy Jr., the Vikings are projected to start free-agent signing Shaquill Griffin, who has been released from three teams in two years, or Akayleb Evans, who allowed a 104.4 passer rating when targeted last year, per Pro Football Focus,” Holder continued. “Given the scheme fit and team need at the position, there’s an opportunity for Jackson to contribute immediately as a rookie. At the very least, he’s worth keeping an eye on during training camp as a potential surprise starter.”

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Jackson’s trajectory in purple is promising as a scrappy — borderline cocky — defender ready to contribute. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted after the draft, “Just had a lively video conference with new Vikings CB Khyree Jackson. He said he told the Vikings at the Senior Bowl that ‘I was the best cornerback in the draft, and I told them they were going to get me for cheaper because of some of the politics that go into it.'”

Jackson ranked around No. 100 on the list of best rookies available heading into the draft, so Minnesota didn’t move heaven and earth to grab the Duck. But he was notably the first selection after the Vikings landed McCarthy and Turner.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

For context, this is Minnesota’s CB room at the beginning of July:

  • Byron Murphy
  • Akayleb Evans
  • Mekhi Blackmon
  • Shaquill Griffin
  • Andrew Booth
  • Khyree Jackson
  • Jaylin Williams
  • A.J. Green III
  • Dwight McGlothern

And per Bleacher Report, you’ve been warned to watch Jackson’s progression with a keen eye.

Jackson is the Vikings’ tallest cornerback at 6’4″.

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