With the deadline for the NFL’s 53-man roster cutdown looming about 24 hours away, the Minnesota Vikings are just one team with a lot of questions about who they’re going to keep on the roster and who they’re going to let go of. One of the biggest points of contention could, potentially, be the defensive backfield. Thanks to the emphasis that Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman have put on the position over the past few years, the team now has a glut of talented players at both cornerback and safety, and they likely can’t keep all of them.
One NFL insider is reporting that a potential solution for the Vikings might be trading some players away rather than releasing them, and the names might come as a bit of a surprise.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is reporting that he’s heard the names of both cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Marcus Sherels bandied about in trade talks leading up to Saturday’s deadline.
Alexander was the Vikings’ second-round pick out of Clemson in the 2016 NFL Draft, and had an up-and-down first couple of seasons with Minnesota. He appears to be making strides in the right direction, and has finally embraced the potential of being a slot cornerback after a couple of seasons where he apparently resisted the transition a bit. The team did draft Mike Hughes in the first round of the 2018 Draft, and with the way Zimmer has raved about him throughout camp, perhaps the slot corner job now belongs to him, which would leave Alexander on the outs.
Sherels is a bit more of a surprise, in that he doesn’t offer much as a corner any longer, though he can do the job if called upon. Sherels’ primary value lies in his punt return skills, a position where he’s still one of the NFL’s best. The Vikings could, potentially, use Hughes or a wide receiver to fill the return role if Sherels were to be traded or released, and that could give them the ability to shore up the roster at another position.
I’m not sure how much there actually is to any of these trade rumors at this point. There was a report circulating around Twitter earlier in the day that Alexander had been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth-round pick, but that turned out to be false.
We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes on this and all of the other transactions that the Vikings will be making over the course of the next 24 hours or so.