This entire offseason, we’ve been wondering exactly how the Minnesota Vikings would adjust at the cornerback position. Their top three corners from a year ago. . .Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander. . .all left the team during the offseason, with Rhodes being cut and Waynes and Alexander simply not being re-signed.
On one hand, it leaves the Vikings with an incredibly young group and the cornerback position, including two players that were drafted in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft in first-rounder Jeff Gladney and third-rounder Cameron Dantzler. On the other hand, while Alexander was pretty good in 2019, Waynes did not have his best season, and Rhodes was downright terrible, completing his incredible drop-off just two years after being an All-Pro. Mike Zimmer loves his cornerbacks, to be sure, but will he have them ready for a unique 2020 season?
One source apparently thinks so, as Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network has compiled her rankings of the NFL’s cornerback groups, and has the Vikings ranked all the way up at #11.
That seems like awfully high praise, even with the purplest shades I can find firmly attached to my eyes. Of all of the corners that the Vikings list on their roster at the present time, only two of them. . .Mike Hughes and Holton Hill. . .have started an NFL game at cornerback. Those two have combined for nine starts, with Hughes having five and Hill getting four. This is the third NFL season for each of them, and they’ve been limited for different reasons.
Other than that, the Vikings’ cornerback room is currently very low on production and very high on potential. We’ve seen the glowing reports coming out of Vikings’ camp about Dantzler, and hopefully Gladney will be just as ready when things kick off at U.S. Bank Stadium in about two weeks. Beyond the two rookies are players like Kris Boyd, Nate Meadors, Harrison Hand, Mark Fields, and Nevelle Clarke. Again, we know that Mike Zimmer likes his cornerbacks more than the average coach, but the coaching staff has a pretty big task ahead of them to get them prepped for the start of the season.
Of course, the fact that those young corners are going to be backed by Frelund’s top safety duo in Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris can only help them. (Honestly, if Smith and Harris aren’t everyone’s top safety combo, they’re ranking their safeties incorrectly, but I digress.) It’s definitely going to be a huge change for the Vikings at the cornerback position this year, but if they can live up to these sorts of expectations, the transition might be much smoother than a lot of people. . .yours truly included. . .might anticipate.
What do you think of Cynthia Frelund’s rating of the Vikings’ cornerback situation? Has she hit the nail on the head or is it too much too soon?