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Looking ahead: Vikings should re-sign Alexander, Waynes

I took a little dive into the cornerback situation in Minnesota

Minnesota Vikings v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Two cornerbacks for the Minnesota Vikings will enter the final year on their rookie contracts in 2019.

Minnesota picked up Trae Waynes’ fifth-year option and will retain him for one more season. Mackensie Alexander will enter his fourth season in a purple jersey. Waynes was drafted 11th overall in 2015 and Alexander was swooped by the Vikings during the second round (54th overall) in 2016. Minnesota should resign both players when the time comes.

This case is being made simply because Marcus Sherels will be a free agent this off-season and even if the Vikings do resign him, he’s still 31 years old. Also, Mike Hughes will be coming back from a torn ACL, so it’s unclear how he will bounce back. The Vikings just need options at the cornerback position right now and it would be troublesome (in my opinion) if Waynes or Alexander were let go or dealt elsewhere.

Both have come a long way since their rookie seasons. I’m going to think that it’s fair to say (although some may disagree) that Alexander has seen the most improvement amongst the two. Alexander certainly evolved into the go-to nickelback after Hughes’ injury.

Not only did he become a useful depth defensive back, but also played a vital role in the Vikings pass rush towards the end of the season. Alexander tied former Vikings defensive back Robert Griffith in the sack column for DB’s, both recorded four.

The 25-year old, Clemson alum led the team with ten defended passes and participated in 54 percent of the defensive snaps last season. He had six starts, 43 combined tackles, seven tackles for losses and hit the quarterback five times.

It may just be me, and that’s fine, maybe I’m what the people would say “sippin’ on that purple Kool-Aid.” But I don’t understand all the gibber-gabber about trading Waynes within the Vikings community. It doesn’t hurt to shop around, but I wouldn’t pull the trigger unless it seems worth it.

The soon-to-be fifth-year pro saw 67 percent of the defensive snaps at his position, only behind Xavier Rhodes who participated in 74 percent of the snaps. With Hughes being out, Waynes solidified being the number two guy last season.

Waynes only committed two defensive pass interference penalties all year. He gave up seven total defensive pass interference penalties during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He also hasn’t been tagged for a defensive holding call since October 2017. This proves maturity and growth in the Michigan State alum.

He defended eight passes that were sent his way, he’s second behind Alexander (it’s really hard to find a site that gives info about how many times a CB was targeted by an opposing QB, so if you know of one that doesn’t cost money, let me know please). His best game of the season was probably against the New York Jets back in October, when he caught his only interception of the season and batted away four passes sent his direction.

It’ll be worrisome if Rhodes gets hurt and Waynes or Alexander isn’t there. I feel like Minnesota will have a situation at the cornerback position in the coming years. I feel all greasy and gross when I think about what would happen if we got rid of one or the other (or maybe it’s from being on a coach bus for two days). I just sense Minnesota grabbing some sub-par 33-year old cornerback who only had a handful of starts in his career.