Vikings

Minnesota Vikings Position Battles: Cornerbacks

Photo Credit: Kyle Hansen

Over the next couple weeks, Zone Coverage will break down the Minnesota Vikings post-draft roster by position group.

Previous stories: 
Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends
Offensive line
Quarterbacks
Defensive line
Linebackers

Today’s Focus: Cornerbacks

The Vikings lost a starting cornerback in free agency and did not do much to bolster the position in free agency or the draft besides retaining veteran Terence Newman. That means they’re counting on filling Captain Munnerlyn’s open spot internally with one of their promising young players.

Here is where things stand currently.

Departures: Captain Munnerlyn (CAR)
————
Arrivals: Horace Richardson, Terrell Sinkfield
Already rostered: Mackensie Alexander, Jabari Price, Xavier Rhodes, Marcus Sherels, Trae Waynes, Terence Newman, Tre Roberson

THE LONG SHOTS: Horace Richardson, Terrell Sinkfield
Minnesota signed one corner on the UDFA market, Richardson, who comes from SMU and had six interceptions as a senior. Sinkfield, meanwhile, continues his journey around the continent, having now played for three CFL teams and six NFL teams — including the Vikings twice. He was a receiver in his first go-round with Minnesota, but now he’ll be tried out as a cornerback. It seems unlikely either have a place on this roster, which can probably hold no more than six corners.

BATTLING FOR A SPOT: Tre Roberson, Jabari Price
It’s been a rocky road in Minnesota for Price, the 2014 seventh-round draft pick. He played strictly special teams as a rookie, then got pinned with a DUI after his rookie year that caused him to be suspended for part of 2015. Price then got into a training camp fight with Laquon Treadwell in 2016, injured his knee in the final preseason game and spent the year on injured reserve. People forget, though, that he was actually looking pretty good throughout the 2016 offseason program. Xavier Rhodes even said that Price looked as good as he’d ever seen him. His chief competition for a job will be Roberson, the former Indiana cornerback who was on and off the Vikings’ practice squad last year. He looked good in training camp a year ago and flashed in the team’s OTA practice on Wednesday. Since he’d be under team control through 2018 at very little cost, he might have the edge over Price, whose rookie deal expires this year.

THE LOCKS: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Terence Newman, Mackensie Alexander, Marcus Sherels
There shouldn’t be too much question over these five. Rhodes has become one of the league’s elite cornerbacks. Newman is an ageless wonder and is entering his third one-year deal with the Vikings. Waynes enters a pivotal third season and should be playing significant reps even if he doesn’t start. Alexander will have the first crack at Munnerlyn’s slot corner job. Sherels will be the team’s punt returner for the 65th year in a row (estimated). Any change to this order would be surprising.

PREDICTION

Making the roster: Rhodes, Waynes, Newman, Alexander, Sherels, Roberson
Practice squad potential: Richardson

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