Not long after the 2019 NFL Draft, there was word circulating that the Minnesota Vikings were considering moving safety Jayron Kearse to the weakside linebacker position in an effort to get him on the field more often. Now, with a new round of OTAs starting in Eagan on Tuesday, the Vikings could be looking at a way to get Kearse on the field even more frequently.
Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that Kearse is one of a handful of players that will be looking to get some time as the nickel defensive back position.
Kearse, who is going into the final year of his rookie contract, was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings out of Clemson in 2016. His college teammate, Mackensie Alexander, was selected by the Vikings in the second round of that year’s draft, and had an outstanding year in the nickel role last season after fighting such a transition for his first couple of seasons.
“Last year, I played the nickel, but that was all off of instincts,” said Kearse, who played a career-high 202 defensive snaps [19.4%] last season. “Now, I had time to work at it knowing I’ll be in that role and playing that position.”
I’m not sure how the Vikings are going to juggle their secondary in 2019. I’m not sure if taking Alexander out of his spot as the nickel defender would be the best move for the team, but Kearse has shown that he can handle greater responsibility as well.
The Vikings have an embarrassment of riches in their secondary, and players like Kearse and Alexander are a big part of that. Being able to move players around is a big deal not only in the case of potential injuries, but it would give the team greater flexibility in handling certain in-game situations, depending on how their opponents are lining up.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Mike Zimmer, George Edwards, and company do with the defense going forward, since it appears that they’re going to attempt to give themselves as many potential options as possible.