November 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, United States; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Mackensie Alexander (20) celebrates after a sack in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a constant joke among Vikings fans that Zim’s emphasis on continually solidifying Minnesota’s corner depth represents a misallocation of resources.
Our crisp head coach knows these feelings. Our general manager does too. At different times, the two have joked with the media that fans got mad at them for making such a concerted effort to attract talents around the corner.
Well now we may be experiencing why the depth of the corners is so important. Heading into the season, we were six on the corner: Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, Mackensie Alexander, Cameron Dantzler, Kris Boyd and Harrison Hand. Many fans were optimistic about this group.
Defense has definitely been a work in progress, and the high school is still taking hold. Breeland has been a huge disappointment, leading many to passionate pleas for a replacement. I, for one, have been aboard Team Dantzler. The problem, of course, is that Dantzler may not even be available. As Josh pointed out earlier this week, our sophomore corner was placed on the Covid-19 list. Hopefully Dantzler makes a full recovery and is back on the field soon.
As the tweet above suggests, Harrison Hand is also on the Covid-19 list. Thus, Minnesota’s corner depth has been affected. It’s notable that Camryn Bynum played corner in college, but the team is unlikely to want to put him there in a legitimate NFL game (even if it’s against the lowly Lions). Krammer goes on to point out that it seems Boyd will be available. Boyd is a good CB4.
If Dantzler and Hand can’t go, it will be Peterson, Breeland, Alexander and Boyd. From there, the Vikes could turn to Bynum. They could also play a more traditional defense, one that features three LBs on the field. Anthony Barr is expected to return; Nick Vigil and Eric Kendricks are strong in pass coverage. Minnesota can also watch its practice squad.
One of the misconceptions about last season was that the Vikings started their season woefully unprepared in the corner. Fans remember the rookie corners at the end and assume that was the plan all along. It was not. The plan was for third-year players Mike Hughes and Holton Hill to start. The organization held both of them in high regard, but injuries undermined their ability to play. The team’s lack of depth forced them to turn to those rookies.
We seemed to learn from our mistakes, as evidenced by the free-agent emphasis on the corners. However, we live in a strange world. Covid can turn things around pretty quickly, so our depth is facing a difficult test. I know Detroit is far from its Megatron days, but I’ll be nervous if Breeland (who has apparently struggled with his own injuries) has to start Week 5.