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Updated: September 16th, 2010 4:23pm
Pelissero: Trade rumors only add to nonstop action surrounding Vikings

Pelissero: Trade rumors only add to nonstop action surrounding Vikings

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by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- This was supposed to be the week things calmed down for the Minnesota Vikings.

Instead, it's panned out like so many others -- a swirl of uncertainty and media speculation, this time centering around the Vikings' rumored interest in San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson.

"He's a good player," veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield said of Jackson on Thursday afternoon. "Played against him a few times. Good receiver, good size, good speed, runs good routes. With an addition like that, it can only help. I don't think it can hurt us one bit."

At least this storyline seems to have positive connotations in the locker room.

For a contender that's already dealt with Brett Favre's indecision, Sidney Rice's hip, Percy Harvin's headaches and a nationally televised loss in New Orleans to open the season, the prospect of trading for a Pro Bowl player at a position of need augurs less like a desperate gambit than another bold step toward a championship.

Even if that means doling out another $7 million (or more) at a time there's an in-house waiting line for new deals.

"It don't matter who were bringing in, man," defensive tackle Pat Williams said. "The veterans, we control when everybody come in here. We wouldn't really be stressed about it."

The weekend off after Thursday's loss gave players an overdue opportunity to unwind. They'd played four games in 19 days, dating to their second exhibition Aug. 22 at San Francisco.

"You really don't get that rest," Winfield said. "That weekend off helped a lot of people."

It also gave players a chance to watch a weekend's worth of NFL games that featured enough offensive ineptitude to remind everyone that an ugly 14-9 loss isn't an anomaly this time of year, especially on the road.

"We had a chance to win that game last Thursday," Williams said. "We ain't worrying. We ain't stressing. We ain't panicking. Now, we've got like 15 games to go."

So, it's on to the Miami Dolphins, who visit the Metrodome on Sunday for the Vikings' home opener.

Jackson won't be there to help. He has three weeks remaining on his substance-abuse suspension, and it's still far too soon to say the Vikings not only can work out a deal with Jackson, but make the best offer to the Chargers as well before Wednesday's deadline.

If anything, the Vikings may need to make a temporary, lower-profile move to fill the void if Harvin's new hip injury keeps him out.

"Guys are excited to be back out on the field," Winfield said. "Last week didn't end the way we wanted it to. We're 0-1. We're real hungry to get that first win."

Calm may not be in the cards for this team. Not with Favre, Rice, Harvin, trade talks, title hopes and three prime-time games left on the schedule.

But the message from players has been the same from the time they packed their bags at the Superdome.

That no matter how much hype surrounded last week's NFC championship rematch, not to mention everything that happened off the field the past six weeks, the Vikings aren't wavering from their primary target.

"You don't fall into the media stuff, because half them guys, they never played football in their damn life," Williams said. "I think our team, everybody's calmed down and everybody's focused."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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