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Pro Football Focus names Mackensie Alexander the Vikings’ most improved player

Not a huge surprise here

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we brought you the news that Pro Football Focus had named safety Anthony Harris as one of the biggest surprises in the NFL in 2018. As much of a surprise as Harris was, apparently he was not the most improved player on the Minnesota Vikings’ roster according to PFF’s metrics.

Instead, that honor went to Mackensie Alexander, as PFF revealed their list of each team’s most improved player this past season. Here’s what they had to say about Alexander.

The former second-rounder had a rough go of it his first couple years in Minnesota before finally settling into the slot role this past season. He broke up eight passes and didn’t allow a touchdown in his coverage.

Alexander’s first couple of seasons with the Vikings were pretty rough, as he was frequently picked on by opposing quarterbacks. However, this season he finally embraced his role as a slot cornerback rather than fighting against it, and flourished as a result. In addition to the pass coverage stats that PFF cites, he also showed off his prowess as a blitzer, collecting four sacks on the season. Only four Vikings’ players had more sacks than Alexander did this season, and two of those players (Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson) were only ahead of him by half a sack, as they both collected 4.5 on the season.

Alexander is now heading into the final season of his rookie contract, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the Vikings handle the defensive backfield with the emergence of Alexander, the recovery of Mike Hughes, and the surprising play of Holton Hill. Is there a trade coming in the near future?