Cornerback is arguably Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's favorite position. Fans always make jokes about Zimmer wanting the Vikings to grab a cornerback in the draft or during free agency, even if it is not a position of need. This offseason, the Vikings did exactly that but it actually was a position of need this time.
Last season the Vikings cornerback room was very inexperienced. It was that way because the Vikings lost Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes to the Colts and Bengals in free agency. The Vikings started young guys at every corner position. While statistically, it wasn’t a great year, the young guys showed a lot of poise and promise. The Vikings made some excellent moves to improve the secondary for the upcoming season.
Let's take a look at the Minnesota Vikings 2021 Cornerbacks.
Cam Dantzler – This is one of those young guys the Vikings started last season. Dantzler was the Vikings main cornerback as a rookie. The Vikings selected Dantzler in the 3rd round but he played like a first-round draft pick all season. There were 11 cornerbacks taken in front of Dantzler in the 2020 NFL draft. Despite that, he finished his first season with the #1 PFF grade of all rookie cornerbacks.
Dantzler is CB 1. He is the cornerback of the future for the Vikings. The only thing he currently lacks is experience. That is why the Vikings brought in the next guy on the list.
Patrick Peterson – Patrick Peterson comes to the Vikings as 31 years of age, full of wisdom and experience. He feels he still has a lot left in the tank and can help the Vikings after a down year with the Arizona Cardinals.
Mike Zimmer might be just to coach to turn around Patrick Peterson’s career. In 2015 the Vikings signed 37 year old Terence Newman. Zimmer put him in positions where he could rely on his experience over his athleticism and Newman was very effective. He played 3 seasons for the Vikings up until he was 40 years old.
Now remember, Patrick Peterson is only 31.
Bashaud Breeland – The Vikings and Super Bowl usually don’t go hand in hand. Bashaud Breeland brings just that to the Vikings locker room. Breeland was an important part of the Kansas City Chiefs defense when they won the Super Bowl during the 2019 season. Breeland is an unsung hero type player and is a very underrated signing from this offseason.
He will compete for a starting job with Peterson and make this one of the deepest units in the NFL.
Mackensie Alexander – Last season the Vikings lost Mackensie Alexander to free agency. He is now back and slated to start at the nickel position. Alexander is an average cornerback but he is an amazing nickel corner. In today’s NFL the nickel position is a starting position and very important. Having a guy who knows that position and plays it well is going to give the Vikings defense an edge and fill what it was missing last season.
Jeff Gladney – In all of this, we can’t forget about Jeff Gladney. The Vikings drafted him early last season and he looked pretty good for a rookie. He is a hard-hitting corner who showed the ability to be a starter in the NFL. His coverage needs to improve but he showed signs of that at points throughout the season.
The problem is that he has ongoing legal battles for a domestic abuse allegation that came out earlier this offseason. He is not ruled out of playing this season as the case is still ongoing.
The Rest – After those 5 players, the Vikings have Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, Tye Smith, and some camp bodies. They add quality depth to a very strong unit. Especially is Gladney is able to play. Boyd and Hand got a lot of experience last season with the Vikings being so shorthanded at the position.