The Vikings Corner Room Needs to Double in Size

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
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Last offseason, the Vikings corner room featured 10 players. Currently, the team only has 5 players at the ultra-important position.

At some point, additions will need to be made.

Kevin O’Connell recently acknowledgedd this reality, noting that both rookies and veterans are under consideration: “We know we need to add either via through the draft or potentially some other veterans, we need to add some more numbers in that room.”


NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell throws a ball before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The inevitable follow-up question, of course, is what’s taking so long?

Well, there are a few holdups. Some roster conundrums need solving. Namely, the Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Cook situations need to come to some sort of resolution. The likeliest scenarios are a trade or contract restructure, but there’s a world where one (or both) stick around on their current deals.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, one gets traded. That would instantly give Minnesota a fresh infusion of cash. At the very least, the team would have the cap space to agree to terms with their draft class. The team could also use their newfound wealth on free agency.

From the outside looking in, it certainly appears as though the team is high on this year’s corner prospects. If they weren’t, we’d have likely seen another addition or two for the Vikings corner room. Instead, we’ve seen Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, and Cameron Dantzler head elsewhere. Avoiding a Chandon Sullivan deal is even further evidence of the team’s confidence in the ability to add more talent via the draft.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Nov 6, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz., United States; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow/Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Furthermore, the coaching staff must be feeling good about the top 3 corners on the roster: Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans. The team’s inaction speaks volumes about that trio. Sometimes, it’s the unsaid word or the action not taken that tells us the most. Bringing Murphy aboard was a necessary move, but stopping with just him was a surprise to many.

The organization still holds Booth and Evans (the soon-to-be sophomores) in high regard. At the end of the day, there isn’t anyone out there who has a better understanding of what these corners can do than the organization itself. The coaches get to work with these players on a daily basis.

The major concern is twofold: inexperience and injury. Murphy is the veteran of the bunch, but he just turned 25. We don’t have too much to be worried about when it comes to experience since he’s been in the NFL for 4 seasons, but we’re not talking about Patrick Peterson. The current elder statesman is just coming off his rookie deal.

More concerning, perhaps, is that the top trio played a combined 25 games last year. Murphy (9 games), Evans (10 games), and Booth (6 games) all battled injury. Murphy led the pack with 593 snaps in 2022.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Otherwise, the team is working with Kalon Barnes and Tay Gowan. Now, we’d be foolish to assume neither can develop into impact NFL players. After all, few could have foreseen the impact Shelley made last season. The point is simply that with Barnes and Gowan, very little is guaranteed. They’ll need to overcome long odds just to make the roster, let alone become contributors in the Brian Flores defense.

At least a single draft pick being spent on corner seems like a pretty safe bet. Afterwards, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will bring UDFAs aboard. I’m expecting at least 1 or 2 more corners to be included in that group. From there, the team can circle back to free agency, where several solid options still exist. Heck, we might even see one brought in through a trade.

Regardless of how it happens, know that the Vikings corner room will see some additions.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.