Vikings miss out on Jackson, injuries to receivers mount
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings were hoping to end Wednesday with Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson in tow. Instead, their receiver situation became even more unsettled as Jackson remained a holdout in San Diego and injury issues continued to mount.
Percy Harvin, already battling a hip strain, missed practice after another recurrence of migraine headaches, and Bernard Berrian was limited because of an issue with his knee.
None of this is a good remedy for a team that is looking to get its passing game on track as it prepares to play host to Detroit (0-2) on Sunday. Failure to beat the Lions — a franchise that has lost 21 in a row on the road — would send the Vikings into their bye week with an 0-3 record. They haven't opened with three losses in a row since 2002.
The Vikings did sign Hank Baskett to a one-year deal Wednesday. That leaves them with Baskett, Greg Camarillo and Greg Lewis as their healthy wideouts — not exactly the trio Brett Favre thought he would be relying upon in August when he decided to return.
Jackson wouldn't have been an immediate help to the Vikings, but he could have been on the field as early as the Oct. 17 game against Dallas, if a trade could have been worked out. Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, Jackson was considered a potential short-term replacement for the injured Sidney Rice.
Jackson, who is 6-foot-5, would have given Favre the type of big target that he's lacking with the 6-4 Rice expected to miss half the season after having hip surgery.
The Vikings reportedly had agreed to a one-year deal with Jackson's agents that would have been worth more than $6 million for 12 games of work. There also was believed to be a potential option year in the contract. However, the Vikings, and other teams, were unable to reach an agreement on trade terms with the Chargers by a 3 p.m. deadline Wednesday.
According to Yahoo Sports!, the Vikings offered San Diego a second-round and conditional pick in 2011, with the latter going to the Chargers only if Jackson had signed a long-term deal. San Diego general manager A.J. Smith wanted a second- and third-round pick in 2011.
Vikings coach Brad Childress would not discuss Jackson specifically but admitted, "(Draft picks are) your bartering tool. That's how you build with younger talent. If you do something for a guy like Jared Allen (whom the Vikings acquired in a trade with Kansas City in 2008), you want to know what you're giving is commensurate with what you're getting."
Wednesday's deadline was established last week as part of an agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association over how long Jackson should have to sit out to start the season. Jackson is serving a three-game suspension after two drunken driving arrests and he was due to miss the next three games after that because the Chargers put them him on the roster exempt list.
If San Diego had traded Jackson by 3 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been eligible to play after his new team's fourth game. That is no longer the case, meaning his value has diminished and there is a good chance he will sit out the entire season.
Jackson could return to San Diego after missing six games but he has made it clear he would rather sit out than play for the one-year tender of $377,235 that the Chargers have given him.
As for potential concerns about Jackson's on-the-field behavior, Childress indicated the Vikings already had done their background check on him. "Anybody we are considering we do a lot of work on," he said.
Childress spoke Wednesday before the injury report was issued so he was not asked about Berrian's knee. Berrian, who has caught only three passes for 27 yards in two games, appeared to be moving fine during individual drills when the media was allowed to watch practice.
He and Favre have yet to find a consistent rhythm and the two had a conversation early on before Favre connected with Berrian on a deep ball with no defender covering him. After the two-hour practice when the media returned, Berrian was seen walking gingerly off the field.
Harvin was listed on the injury report with both a hip and illness, which is the term the Vikings use when he suffers from a migraine. This has to be a concern given the fact Harvin missed most of training camp because of the debilitating headaches. Harvin was extremely optimistic last week that the migraines could be controlled after doctors found he was dealing with sleep apnea.