Will the Vikings target a cornerback this offseason?
This is the time of year in the NFL when things get interesting.
With free agency set to open up in less than a month and the NFL draft taking place at the end of April, all 32 franchises are currently knuckles-deep in evaluating the best way to make their teams better.
Vikings starting cornerbacks Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin won’t exactly be entering training camp in the best of shape. Griffin, a four-year veteran out of Texas, tore his ACL in the Vikings’ 31-28 NFC Championship loss to the New Orleans Saints. He underwent surgery after the season, but there has been no official word on when Griffin will be ready to suit-up again for Minnesota.
Winfield is another story. Not only will the former Ohio State Buckeye turn 33-years-old in June, but he’s also battling a fractured right foot injury that forced him to miss six games in 2009. The good news for Winfield is that he doesn’t need to undergo surgery to fix the injury and should be ready for the start of training camp, according to Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. However, despite the good news about his foot, Winfield still isn’t getting any younger.
Outside of the injuries to both Winfield and Griffin, you also have to incorporate the overall play off the Minnesota secondary in 2009 as well. Despite leading the NFL in sacks (48, meaning they know how to get after the passer), the Vikings still ranked 19th in pass defense (218.4 yds/gm) and 23rd in passing touchdowns allowed (26). With offensive mastermind Mike Martz joining quarterback Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears this offseason, not to mention two games a year against the NFL’s seventh-ranked passing offense in the Green Bay Packers, addressing the cornerback position should be one of the top priorities in Minnesota this offseason if the Vikings want to make a run at another NFC North title.
So where should the Vikings look to address the cornerback issue? Let’s start with four of the most notable CBs set to become unrestricted free agents this March:
Minnesota could also look to this April’s draft to find a cornerback. Therefore, we turn to NFP Director of College Scouting Wes Bunting for his top-five cornerbacks: