The Vikings Now Have a Healthier Corner Group

Oct 31, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Nate Hairston (27) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Football Team wide receiver Dax Milne (15) in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings, for the most part, are healthy. Fingers crossed that this will remain the reality both leading up to and during the 2022 season. Some positive news emerged earlier when we learned that Nate Hairston has returned from injury.

Previously, Kevin O’Connell noted that he would be out as he dealt with an ankle injury:

Hairston, quite evidently, is feeling better. He will be looking to show the Vikings’ coaching staff that he’s worthy of one of the limited roster spots devoted to corner.

One of my bolder takes this offseason has been that Nate Hairston will make this team, potentially overcoming Chandon Sullivan in the process. The reason for this belief largely stems from what I learned from The Donatell Diary. While watching Denver’s games, I was impressed with the journeyman corner at various points. He carries himself with confidence, allowing him to make plays.

Before arriving in Minnesota, he has played for the Broncos, Jets, and Colts. This reality is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, we could say that he’s been unable to stick around anywhere. On the other hand, teams keep giving him a chance, suggesting there is talent.

In 16 games with Denver, Hairston played 15% of the defensive snaps and 63% of the special teams snaps. Being able to be a strong special teams contributor will be crucial for Hairston. It’s very, very difficult to make a team as a depth option if there aren’t contributions on special teams. Of course, it’s plausible that Hairston ends up being the best option in the slot. That’s the corner spot that offers the most uncertainty as training camp unfolds.

Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Andrew Booth Jr. are locks to make the team. Akayleb Evans is also a near certainty. Otherwise, it’s a competition between several young players and free agent vets. Nate Hairston can hopefully show that he offers the team some great defensive play.