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Vikings receiver Trishton Jackson doing his best Jalen Hurts impression this week

The 24-year-old receiver has played some quarterback in practice this week to help the Vikings prepare for the primetime matchup with the Eagles

Offseason Minicamp
Trishton Jackson runs with the ball during the first day of offseason mini camp in Eagan, Minnesota, on June 7, 2022.
Alli Rusco / Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings
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Vikings receiver Trishton Jackson has been doing his best impression of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.

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Trishton Jackson

Though it's commonplace for quarterback David Blough to play the role of the opposing signal caller in practice, his skill set doesn’t match that of Hurts.

Insert the 24-year-old Jackson. Whether it’s keeping the ball on a patented run-pass option, or improvising with his legs when the play breaks down, he’s doing his part to emulate Hurts as best he can.

“It’s pretty cool to play him,” Jackson said. “It’s been fun to run around back there. Just brings me back to my old days. I played quarterback in high school, so it’s been good to kind of give those guys a look back there.”

It’s no easy task preparing for someone like Hurts. He has a unique skill set that allows him to impact the game with both his arm and his legs. That makes it hard for opposing teams to plan for some of the things Hurts is capable of doing on the gridiron.

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“He’s a guy that does a really good job of extending plays and looking for his receivers down the field,” veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “I think when we’re preparing for a team like this it keeps all of us up at night, because we have to account for that extra element in that offense.”

Look no further than last season for proof. Not only did Hurts rack up 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air, more impressively, he also led the Eagles with 784 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

“He’s a major, major part of their run game,” coach Kevin O’Connell said. “There’s times we could tell by the scheme that they’re running that they’re blocking up everybody except the corner and leaving the corner for the quarterback. It’s pretty rare for a guy to then be able to make that guy miss, go get the first down, and line up and do it again.”

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That’s exactly what Hurts did last week in the season opener. He made a number of plays in the open field, finishing with 90 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and leading the Eagles to a 38-35 win over the Detroit Lions in the process.

Asked if the Vikings will use a spy in coverage this week — perhaps someone like linebacker Eric Kendricks keeping an eye on Hurts — defensive coordinator Ed Donatell wouldn’t tip his hand. All he would say is there will be a bunch of different looks.

“It takes a combination,” Donatell said. “You do anything all the time and they will catch on to it.”

As impressive as Hurts is on the ground, Peterson knows the Vikings have to respect what he can do through the air when the play breaks down.

“Sometimes he’s not even taking off to run,” Peterson said. “Sometimes it’s taking off to look for a third option, a four option, maybe even a fifth option. That’s where plastering to our coverage becomes a big part when he does get out of the pocket. You don’t want a broken play to turn into a touchdown.”

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That’s why it has helped to have Jackson playing the role of Hurts in practice. He has provided a pretty good preview of what to expect.

“We need to get him to the ground as quick as possible,” Jackson said. “That’s what we’re trying to do with me back there.”

How is Jackson’s arm compared to Hurts?

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Andrew Booth Jr.

“Oh it’s pretty good,” Jackson said with a laugh. “Just not as good as his.”

Luckily for Jackson, he hasn’t been asked to throw too much in practice this week. Not that he would complain. Whatever it takes to help the Vikings get ready for a primetime matchup with the Eagles.

“I’m trying to give the best look possible,” Jackson said. “If that helps them make some plays on Monday Night Football, it would be pretty cool for me to see that.”

Briefly

Vikings rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. won’t play in Monday’s game against the Eagles. He has been nursing a quad injury this week.

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