Rookie Khyree Jackson a Minnesota Vikings starter?

Khyree Jackson, Minnesota Vikings OTAs
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson was selected at pick No. 108 in the 2024 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and will have to work his way into the lineup behind a crowded cornerback room consisting of Byron Murphy Jr., Shaq Griffin, Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, and Andrew Booth Jr, if he wants to play.

As of right now, Murphy Jr., Griffin, and Evans are getting the most starting reps during organized team activities. Despite the crowded cornerback room, depth players behind Murphy Jr. and Griffin are far from locks to receive snaps this season.

Can Khyree Jackson climb the Minnesota Vikings cornerback depth chart?

Although it’s very early, one Minnesota Vikings’ beat writer, Kevin Seifert (ESPN) thinks that lack of depth talent will give rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson a legitimate shot at significant playing time… possibly even reps as a starter.

Free agent acquisition Shaquill Griffin, whom the Vikings fully guaranteed $3.99 million, would seem to have the edge for one spot. Akayleb Evans started 15 games last season but endured two in-game benchings. Mekhi Blackmon made three starts as a rookie but had his ups and downs over 435 snaps, and 2022 second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. (256 snaps in two seasons) might be down to his final chance.

All of which gives rookie fourth-round pick Khyree Jackson a legitimate chance for significant playing time if he can put together a strong spring and summer. Jackson would be one of the NFL’s tallest cornerbacks at nearly 6-foot-4, but senior vice president of player personnel Ryan Grigson said: “The way he drops his weight and his hips, and just his footwork, it’s just not ordinary.” Grigson added: “We think he could be a hell of an outside corner.”

Kevin Seifert – Minnesota Vikings’ Beat Writer (ESPN)

Seifert specifically notes senior vice president of player personnel Ryan Grigson’s comments regarding Jackson. Grigson likes his footwork and the way he drops his weight and hips when going into coverage. Grigson also added that “we think he could be a hell of an outside corner.” Those are some strong words coming from Vikings’ brass.

Related: Vikings Will Reportedly Sit JJ McCarthy Until He Takes QB1 from Sam Darnold Organically

Jackson has the skill set and talent to be an excellent cornerback in the NFL. In 2023, Jackson put up some insane Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades at the University of Oregon. He finished with:

  • Overall: 80.5
  • Run Defense: 82.2
  • Tackling: 84.3
  • Pass Rush: 89.2
  • Coverage: 77.4

Those are some excellent grades coming from a competitive Pac-12 conference. Overall, defensive coordinator Brian Flores should be able to use Jackson’s versatility and skillset in this defense.

All he has to do is remain patient and execute effectively this offseason. If he can sustain that, he’s got an excellent chance at significant playing time this upcoming season.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: