While there remains a chance the Vikings could pursue San Diego holdout Vincent Jackson, the team is taking steps to look at a group of four free agent wide receivers this week at Winter Park.
The Vikings will look at former Patriot Sam Aiken, former Eagle Reggie Brown, former Packer Ruvell Martin and former Raven Demetrius Williams as early as Monday. Fox's Jay Glazer reported that the Vikings were planning to bring in all four and ESPN's Chris Mortensen mentioned Martin and Williams during that network's pregame show.
All of this comes as rumors continue to swirl that the Vikings are interested in Jackson but need his situation to be clarified before attempting to make a move. Jackson's issue is that he already is suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The Chargers also have placed him on the roster exemption list which means he has to sit out the first six games of the season at this point.
Even if Jackson is traded, the NFL wants Jackson to sit out the full six games. But the NFLPA contends that if Jackson is traded, the roster exemption portion of the time he must sit should go away and thus he could play after three games. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported that Jackson will have a hearing Thursday morning.
If the ruling goes in Jackson's favor, interest in trading for him should increase. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that an unnamed team was believed to have worked out a one-year, $7 million agreement with Jackson a week ago Saturday but the deal fell through because the team could not work out a deal with the Chargers.
It has not been confirmed -- and Jackson's agent Jonathan Feinsod declined to comment when reached last week -- but speculation is that team was the Vikings. The 6-foot-5 Jackson would serve as an excellent replacement for Brett Favre's favorite target (6-4 Sidney Rice) if he could return following the Vikings bye in Week 4. The fact Jackson isn't familiar with the Vikings offense might be an issue but with the window closing on this team it's certain Favre would welcome Jackson's talents.
The Vikings have four wide receivers on their roster and evidently aren't interested in bringing back Javon Walker, who got a look late in the preseason.
Here is a look at the four wide receivers at whom the Vikings are planning to take a look:
- Sam Aiken: Spent his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2003-07) before playing in 14 games and catching 28 passes the past two years with New England. Aiken, a fourth-round pick of the Bills out of North Carolina in 2003, is listed at 6-2, 220 pounds and is 29 years old. He is a very good special teams player. The Patriots let him go in the final cutdown to the 53-man roster this month.
- Reggie Brown: Much like Greg Lewis, this is another guy with whom Brad Childress is familiar with from his time as offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Brown, 6-1, 197 pounds, is 29 years old and played for the Eagles from 2005 to 2009, catching 177 pass for 2,574 yards and 17 touchdowns. He started 40 games in his first three seasons but lost that job early in 2008 and started only five after that. The Eagles traded Brown to the Buccaneers in the offseason for a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, but Tampa Bay waived him last Monday. Brown had four receptions for 57 yards in the preseason.
- Ruvell Martin: Played for the Packers from 2006 to 2008, before spending last season with the Rams and then going to training camp with the Seahawks this year. The 28-year-old Martin, 6-4, 220 pounds, played two seasons with Favre in Green Bay and caught a career-high 21 passes for 358 yards with one touchdown as a rookie in 2006. Martin was let go in the Seahawks' final cuts. Martin had two touchdown catches in the Packers' 34-0 victory over the Vikings on Nov. 10, 2007.
- Demetrius Williams: The 6-2, 202-pound Williams had 63 receptions for 1,008 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons with the Ravens. Williams, 27, was another guy let go in his team's final cuts. Williams, drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by Baltimore, had issues with injuries while playing for the Ravens and this summer a sprained ankle slowed him.