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ESPN picks one “must sign” free agent for the Vikings

At their position of greatest need

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

At this time next week, the free agency signing frenzy in the National Football League will officially be underway and we’ll all be refreshing our browsers and watching social media to see who the Minnesota Vikings will be bringing on board for the 2023 NFL season. We know what their positions of greatest need are heading into next year, and a new piece from Bristol has them addressing one of them in free agency.

Behind the great E$PN paywall, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has tabbed one “must-sign” free agent for each NFL team. He has the Vikings addressing the cornerback position by bringing in former New England Patriots’ cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Three of Minnesota’s top four cornerbacks in snap count are now free agents, so they are going to need some additions to the secondary. Last year’s second-round pick, Andrew Booth Jr., is probably ready to join the starting lineup across from Cameron Dantzler, but that leaves the slot.

Jones is an excellent veteran addition who has excelled in the slot but also played well outside last season. He ranked 17th among qualifying cornerbacks in coverage success rate.

I’ve said this numerous times in this space over the past week or so, but with all the youth the Vikings have at the cornerback position they need to have some sort of a veteran mentor for the group heading into this season. It could be Patrick Peterson if the two sides can work out an agreement, or they could go with someone like Jones.

Jones joined the Patriots in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn. He picked up two Super Bowl rings with New England in his first three seasons and signed a one-year contract with New England in April of 2019. Just a few months later, he signed a three-year, $21 million extension to that deal, and now he’s about to hit the free agent market after seven years playing for Bill Belichick.

The Patriots placed Jones on injured reserve in 2021 after just six games because of a shoulder injury, but he rebounded in 2022 by starting sixteen games. He intercepted four passes, including a pick-six, and had 11 passes defended along with three forced fumbles.

At 5’10” and 190 pounds, Jones would profile as an ideal slot cornerback for the Vikings after they had their struggles at that spot this past season. More importantly, he would bring experience to the Minnesota secondary. . .and championship experience at that. He could be the sort of player that could help Brian Flores in his efforts to rebuild the defense in Minnesota.

What would you think of a Jonathan Jones signing, folks?