Oddly Enough, Vikings Received Some Free Agency News as Draft Wraps Up

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Somewhat odd timing, but the Vikings received news about the offseason roster transition.

It’s long been clear that a priority of the offseason has been to overhaul the defensive backfield. Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Cameron Dantzler, and Kris Boyd are all playing elsewhere. Most recently, Chandon Sullivan opted to hop over to the AFC.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the slot corner is joining the Steelers.

Pittsburgh added some great talent in the draft. Most prominently, they’ve opted to select Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton, and Darnell Washington. Expect to see the Steelers receive a lot of love in the immediate aftermath of the NFL Draft. Mike Tomlin’s squad has added some great pieces.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) rushes with the football after catching a pass in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) during the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, they felt like they needed a bit more help in the secondary.

By going to Pittsburgh, Chandon Sullivan re-unites with Patrick Peterson, meaning the Steelers now have 2/3 of the Vikings’ starting corners from last season’s failed defense.

The former Packer played in all 17 games, starting 10. Added together, Sullivan had 945 defensive snaps; that’s 81% of the total. For the most part, the 26-year-old struggled, allowing nearly 71% of passes into his coverage to be completed. QBs had a collective 102.7 passer rating when targeting him.

Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) attempts a catch as Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) pressure during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

In fairness, Ed Donatell didn’t do a great job with the defense. The team agrees since they’ve opted to let him go in favor of Brian Flores. The new defensive sheriff will be embracing a full-blown youth movement at CB.

During the draft, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brought in Mekhi Blackmon in the 3rd round and Jay Ward in the 4th to solidify the corner depth. The latter appears to be the better bet to get kicked inside. Shortly after the draft concludes, the Vikings will launch into signing UDFAs. The incoming group is likely to include another corner or two.

Sullivan, 26, likely agreed to a modest deal. He had 60 tackles and 7 PDs last year but no interceptions.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.