Can a Former Packers Corner Provide Minnesota’s Secondary With a Boost?

Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King (20) reacts to a play during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The sense of one gets from Packers fans is that Kevin King has been a disappointment. King was chosen 33rd overall in the 2017 draft. For the past five seasons, he has been part of Green Bay’s defense, with the high point coming in 2019 when he started 14 games. Since then, he has started 11 games in 2020 (he only played in 11 games that season) and then had 6 starts in 2021 (with a total of 10 games played in 2021).

Last year, King was targeted 28 times, allowing 20 catches in the process, a 71.4 completion percentage. The percentage isn’t very good. He allowed 12.9 yards per completion. It’s also worth mentioning that he only missed 1 tackle last season, an important detail considering Ed Donatell asks his corners to be physical.

Earlier in the offseason, Paul Bretl – who recently gave Purple PTSD some excellent insight in an interviewconsidered whether GB ought to re-sign Kevin King. Bretl highlights three games “where he gave up eight receptions on 13 targets and allowed only 48 total yards during that span with a passer rating of 58.3.” Shortly thereafter, Bretl suggests that bringing King back to GB makes sense “if King is willing to come back once again for a league-minimum deal — or something close to that.”

The drawbacks, Bretl goes on to note, “are consistency and durability.” It appears that GB is ready to move on from the corner: “During Green Bay’s final five games of the season, including the playoffs, King saw only 46 total snaps, which included two games where he never had more than eight. And instead of playing cornerback, King had transitioned to the dime linebacker role–which in a way felt like a last-ditch effort on the Packers’ part to find him a role.”

With all that in mind, why the suggestion that the Vikings might consider Kevin King?

Well, some of it is simply connecting the dots. Mike Pettine – Minnesota’s assistant head coach – knows King well from their time together in Green Bay. Former Packers players Za’Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan have been brought to Minnesota, so there’s clearly a willingness to sign talent from the division rival. Plus, GB runs a similar scheme to what the Vikings will be running, so it shouldn’t be an issue for King to understand the defense. He is still only 27.

Furthermore, the signing isn’t about getting a strong starter. Rather, it’s about increasing the depth. King has starter experience, familiarity with the scheme, and he knows some of the coaches. Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Andrew Booth Jr. are currently the team’s top 3 options at corner. One injury or suspension will put this corner group into a tough spot, stretching it thin. Bringing a veteran aboard may be worthwhile, especially if it comes at a modest deal.

Currently, the Vikings have just under $11 million in cap room.