The wheels have been greased to make things easier for Jackson to return – and for the Chargers to find a suitable trade partner – and the Vikings continue to be the top team among those being thrown out in the rumor mill. Clearly, the Vikings have the most need and, with Sidney Rice still on crutches weeks after having hip surgery, the need will continue for weeks to come. Jackson would be a significant upgrade to a four-man receiver corps that struggled badly in Week 1.
The bigger issue remains the backlash effect on the team. There has been speculation that contractual issues were partly to blame for Adrian Peterson's absence from minicamp and the delay on the part of Rice and his people to hold off on hip surgery. Will signing a holdout from the outside be the kind of message Brad Childress wants to send to the team? It would seem the underlying message would be relatively simple – if you have a lot of talent, the rules will be changed or bent for you.
Money doesn't seem to be a concern. The Vikings ripped up Favre's contract to add millions more to it and the Vikings made a run in the offseason (despite being hamstrung by free-agent restrictions) for LaDainian Tomlinson. They have the money to spend and clearly are willing to spend it. But is Jackson the way to do that?
The Vikings have several key young players that will be looking for new contracts of their own on the horizon, including Peterson, Rice, Ray Edwards, Brian Robison and Chad Greenway. They are keys to the success of the franchise long after guys like Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield are gone. If the Vikings are going to remain among the elite NFL teams, keeping their core of young players is critical. Rolling out the red carpet for Jackson, whether he gets a long-term deal or a one-year contract, could undermine some of those negotiations and eventually lead to the kind of problems they currently have in San Diego, where holdouts are common and giving in is rare.
If you were to put odds on it, Thursday's decision likely doubled the likelihood the Vikings will sign Jackson. Will he help a team capable of going to a Super Bowl? Undoubtedly. But, will it set a bad precedent that could burn the Vikings down the line? Unfortunately, the answer to that may be "yes" as well.