The Minnesota Vikings could get big-time production out of multiple rookie cornerbacks in 2020.
The Minnesota Vikings made some major moves in the secondary over the offseason. They were able to keep their dynamic safety duo intact, locking up Anthony Harris for another year with the franchise tag. However, the team will look much different at the cornerback position in 2020.
Minnesota release starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes and allowed fellow starters Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander to leave via free agency. Returnees Mike Hughes and Holton Hill will undoubtedly be important as the Vikings look to replace their departing trio, but they will also be depending on a talented group of rookies at the position.
With their second of two first-round selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings added cornerback Jeff Gladney to the mix. Gladney is a long and aggressive cornerback prospect who particuarly shines in man-to-man coverage. He is a natural playmaker at the cornerback position who reads the quarterback well and shows tremendous ball skills.
The Vikings will likely be relying on Gladney as an immediate starter out of the gate and he undoubtedly has the talent to be at least competent in that role. However, Gladney is not the only rookie cornerback who the Vikings will likely be counting on.
More talented rookies
This team also drafted Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler in the third round and Temple cornerback Harrison Hand in the fifth. Dantzler is a big, long and athletic cornerback who has tremendous upside at the next level. His ability to lock up opposing receivers on the outside is impressive and could allow him to be an immediate contributor for this team.
Hand is not quite as impressive athletically as Gladney or Dantzler, but he shows tremendous natural instincts in zone coverage and has a knack for making a play on the ball. Do not be surprised if the Vikings count on Hand as a part-time defensive contributor as a rookie in 2020.
All three of these rookie cornerbacks could make a major impact for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020, but do not sleep on their undrafted free agent addition of Nevelle Clarke. Clarke is another long and physical cornerback prospect who shines near the line of scrimmage and shows impressive overall ball skills. Clarke can get himself into trouble with overly aggressive play at times, but he is also a strong playmaker who has some nice upside.
I like what the Vikings are doing at the cornerback position. Instead of giving big money to guys who were not living up to their contracts and draft status, they attacked the position with multiple young and talented players who have major upside.
I am sure not all four of these cornerbacks will become top-notch players for the Vikings, but at least one or two of these additions will likely hit. There is not a lot of proven talent in the Vikings’ cornerback room, but they certainly have plenty of sticky defenders who could quickly grow into big-time contributors.