Vikings Have a Chance to Do Something Incredibly Rewarding

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Minnesota Vikings lost rookie Khyree Jackson before his career ever got started. A promising talent taken in the fourth round of April’s draft, he was tragically killed in a car accident. Keeping his presence alive at U.S. Bank Stadium should take place this year and for those to come.

Vikings Have a Chance to Do Something Incredibly Rewarding

Minnesota Vikings fans will never get to see what Khyree Jackson could have developed into at the professional level. He was a standout talent for Dan Lanning’s Oregon Ducks and had the makings of an ideal NFL cornerback. Brian Flores was salivating about the opportunity to work with him, and the roster would have been better because of his presence on it.

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All of those realities were taken away when Jackson’s life ended suddenly, but he doesn’t have to be forgotten. It would make sense for players to put a “31” sticker on the back of their helmets. The franchise could decide to wear a number patch on their jerseys. Both things have been done before and would be a great way to show support for their fallen brother.

What about the fans, though?

Jerseys for Khyree Jackson were available on multiple Fanatics-driven websites into Saturday. Aside from the largest sizes, they were allowed to sell out, and then his customization was removed as an option. It could be argued that fans buying the merchandise would be Minnesota profiting from the family’s misfortune, but it’s also a way to connect with the lost Vikings youngster.

Having worn number “5” in college with Oregon, Jackson had been assigned “31” for Minnesota. He noted getting used to the change during minicamp, and the number may have elevated him to prominence should he have been thrust into the starting lineup. Making it available for purchase, with a message about the man who wore it, would be a good look.

The Vikings could take things further by donating Jackson’s jersey sales proceeds to his family. While he never played a game for Minnesota, he certainly was part of Skol Nation and will forever be remembered as someone lost too soon.

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Alabama defensive back Khyree Jackson (6) on the sidelines after a timeout during a game between Tennessee and Alabama in Neyland Stadium on Oct. 15, 2022. Syndication The Knoxville News Sentinel

There’s an opportunity to have fans help write the final chapter, and seeing support for the man with an incredible story continue to be represented would be heart-warming throughout the year.

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.