The Minnesota Vikings are continuing this offseason to dip into the larger NFC North talent pool. They signed former Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings last month, and on Monday they announced deals with two players who spent last season with the Detroit Lions: defensive end Lawrence Jackson and cornerback Jacob Lacey.
Jackson had 17 sacks in three seasons for the Lions despite missing 11 games over that stretch. (Update: Jackson missed five because of injuries and the rest in weeks when the Lions made only three defensive ends active for games.) The Vikings are pretty set at defensive end this season with the return of Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. But with all three members of that trio in the final year of their contracts, the opportunity exists for a player to step up in 2013 as a possible 2014 replacement.
Lacey, meanwhile, had trouble staying on the field last season and missed five games because of a knee injury and other ailments. Our friends at Pro Football Focus didn't find much to love about his performance with the Lions, noting opposing quarterbacks completed 68 percent of passes directed his way (No. 97 in the NFL) and that he allowed an opposing passer rating of 117.2 (No. 102). I would imagine Lacey will compete for the nickel job but at best will win the dime role in 2013.
Related: Jackson is a big believer in advanced statistics. He attended the 2012 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Teammates have called him "LoJackrates," among other philosopher-nicknames.