Note: This article originally appeared on our other Minnesota Vikings news site, purplePTSD.com. Visit that site, or any of the UFFda! Sports properties, for all your Vikings / NFL / Draft / Wild / Podcast content.
The Minnesota Vikings drew attention in this offseason / free agency period when they signed former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. We discussed this on our weekly KDLM radio show, ‘The VikingsTerritory Breakdown’, in an attempt to break down the (then) updated Vikings corner / side depth chart.
The breaking up of Viking territory: making sense of the start of free agency
The main question we had until Friday was what the Vikings would do at the nickel position (and, obviously, who will replace the recently discarded Anthony Harris at safety). Well, wonder no more … Me? Because the Vikings have reportedly agreed on terms to bring former nickel corner Mackenzie Alexader back “home”.
Alexander left the Vikings (and what was supposed to be better terms) for a one-year trial contract with the Bengals. However, he never messed with the coaches at Cincy and had a national fight with the coaches there when he left the team to search for (and find) his missing father.
Alexander started 10 of the 13 games he played for the Bengals.
According to ESPN.com:
Alexander’s advanced metrics were in the middle of the bunch, among others who play primarily as a slot cornerback. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Alexander had a 68.4 completion percentage when he was the closest defender, which was 2% worse than expected. It also had a 45.6% coverage success rate, which was slightly below the league average of rated slot cornerbacks. ‘
Alexander has made huge profits in the slot position versus another free agent as he obviously played his first four seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer’s thumb / system. While he reportedly (or allegedly) had issues with Zimmer (considering the above and the fact that he was one of the few veterans to play in the Week 17 2019 mini-Bye when the other veteran starters were off before wild-card round of the playoffs), brings familiarity to a complex system and should be able to jump back into the role he held in the slot his last two seasons at Minnesota.
If Alexander, 27, can return to his 2018 level (which seems reasonable), he will provide a massive upgrade to the secondary that now has its coach on the field in Peterson, two promising young corners in Cameron Dantzler and Jeff. Gladney. and former first-round pick Mike Hughes to boot. Hughes has been limited by injuries, but with the return of Alexander, it’s safe to say that the Vikings’ secondary game is here.
With the addition of Dalvin Tomlinson, the opt-out of Michael Pierce, some draft picks to find an advantage (hopefully) opposite Danielle Hunter, and the healthy return of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, this Vikings defense looks pretty stellar. . (on paper) right now. If they can find a left tackle to play in the draft, with the addition of another former Cardinal in Mason Cole at guard, and the near-elite level of the offense.
Expect. I will stop.
Stay tuned to all of our sites (see below) for all their Vikings, NFL, Draft and even Hockey news!