Tragedy Ends What Could Have Been an Incredible Story

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 lost the opportunity to see an incredible story come to fruition when Khyree Jackson was tragically killed in a car accident last weekend. The former Oregon Ducks cornerback was a promising talent with a story still waiting to be written.

Tragedy Ends What Could Have Been an Incredible Story

When the Minnesota Vikings made Khyree Jackson their fourth-round pick during April’s draft, plenty of his background came to light. Having watched him for the Oregon Ducks extensively, his talent was always unmistakable. A true big man at the cornerback position, he had the size and length to play physically at the position, and when creating an ideal body to shut down top-notch wide receivers, he was all of that and then some.

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As a person, Jackson had traveled a different path to the gridiron. His talent was unreal, but he had stepped away from the game, worked in a grocery store (and succeeded there), and tried his hand at the NBA 2K league. Football wasn’t everything for Jackson, and he put into perspective where it fits into his life.

Brian Flores has been searching for answers at the cornerback position since he showed up in Minnesota. Shaquil Griffin and Byron Murphy Jr. are expected to lead that group this year, but the opportunity for someone like Jackson was there for the taking. He had drawn rave reviews during minicamp, and it’s not even remotely a stretch to think he could have elevated his game to a place where starting reps were his.

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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

All of that is gone. A young man’s life is over. A teammate, son, and friend leave ripple effects that will impact the Vikings organization well into the future. Unfortunately, Jackson didn’t get to write the next chapter in a story that had already been so moving. Unfortunately, it all ended way too soon. Unfortunately, those within the building will certainly play and work with heavy hearts throughout this season.

There are no positives here, and there are no winners. Everyone loses, and losing Jackson hurts in ways that are much more tangible than football. Life is certainly precious, and we are never guaranteed another day.

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That reality never strikes us until it’s too late, and doing the most with what we are granted is an everyday pursuit.

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.