The Minnesota Vikings were 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed and 28th in passing yards allowed last year, so it’s only natural to think they will draft a cornerback at 12. Zimmer notoriously loved cornerbacks, so it’s almost ironic that Minnesota’s secondary had a historically bad season in his last year as the head coach.
The Vikings can fix this problem by drafting Derek Stingley out of LSU. Stingley is one of the rawest cornerback talents we have seen. He will likely be on the board when the Vikings select at No. 12, and with fellow LSU alum Patrick Peterson re-signing, Minnesota could be a great landing spot for the talented cornerback.
Let’s start here: Patrick Peterson wants to mentor him.
Both went to LSU and donned the No. 7, a huge honor. Most of the time, it’s given to LSU’s best player. It’s pretty clear that Peterson wants to mentor Stingley, and it sounds almost like poetry having an older LSU cornerback mentor the next great LSU cornerback. What a great place to do it in Minnesota, given how cornerbacks have thrived there in the past.
Stingley has been exceptional on Saturdays. In Stingley’s freshman year, he had one of the best cornerback seasons we have ever seen, not just among freshmen but among all cornerbacks in college football. Stingley was the SEC newcomer of the year, was a first-team All-American, and helped LSU win a National Championship. It was nothing shy of incredible, especially considering he did all this at 18 years old in 2019. Having all those accolades to your name at 18 is something almost no one can say. In 2020, Stingley followed up his all-American season with, well, another all-American season.
However, Stingley only played three games in 2021 due to injury. This injury has made his draft stock fall slightly, partly due to recency bias and risk. However, he will still likely be drafted very high due to his raw ability.
Stingley is terrific at press and almost looks like the wide receiver’s shadow. He excels at letting receivers get practically little to no separation. In the video below, Stingley looked like he was running the route, and the wide receiver was covering him.
That wide receiver was no slouch either. You’re looking at Auburn’s Seth Williams, one of the best receivers in the SEC in 2019.
In college, Stingley also showed that he doesn’t give up on a play, a rare attribute for a cornerback. Even though he may get beat at times, he makes an effort to make a play still.
Check out Stingley showing his “peanut punch” ability.
Stingley excels at run-stopping in the open field and being physical while running routes. And he isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder.
To further add to his run-stopping ability, Stingley isn’t someone you want to see in space. He has extreme closing ability and fires off like a missile when he identifies which player has the ball. He has great hip movement and is hard to make miss.
Stingley’s worst game in college came against Alabama in 2019. Though LSU won, eventual Heisman winner DeVonta Smith routinely burned him.
Alabama‘s game plan was to throw against Stingley. He struggled when Smith would make a move at the line of scrimmage that would throw him off.
Smith ended up with 231 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns. Remember, this happened to Stingley almost three years ago now, and he was 18 years old at the time. He was still one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, and that was one of his only bad games in college. He’s also improved his game since then.
Though Stingley is good at run-stopping in space, he has been bulldozed by bigger running backs at times, exposing his lack of strength.
Remember, though, Stingley is a cornerback, not a linebacker. In-the-hole tackling naturally isn’t going to be his strong suit. But this could be cause for concern with run plays becoming more focused on the outside zone.
Stingley is one of the rawest cornerback talents we have seen in years. Adding him into Minnesota’s secondary would be great, especially with Peterson there to mentor him.