The Cornerback Conundrum

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The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Rhodes Closed » Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am

We've got ourselves an interesting position here for the Minnesota Vikings with so many quality starting cornerbacks, and with the recent signing of Mackensie Alexander (woot), where does it stand for the team? Here's my predictions for each player:

Cam Danztler - Will be our #1 starting Outside Corner. He's likely going to cover the top WR on the opposing teams, and hopefully he improves even more than the solid season he had last year.

Patrick Peterson - He'll likely be our #2 Cornerback, with his experience and leadership, he'll obviously be the leader of the cornerback corps. One thing I will say is that I believe Peterson is far more of a fit on Minnesota's scheme than he was in Arizona's recent defensive scheme. Peterson is only 30 and I believe if anyone can refresh him into some of what he once was, it's Mike Zimmer. Expect Peterson to slowly return to form as the season goes on and possibly be a real asset to the team stat wise.

Mackensie Alexander - Starting Slot corner. It's right where he needs to be, where he is most effective, and his ability to sniff out plays and passes is undeniable. He's also a great pass-rusher and if used in conjunction with Barr and Kendricks, the three can definitely create some absolute disorientation for opposing Quarterbacks.

Jeff Gladney - This is where things get interesting. I'm going to predict that Gladney will be moving to *safety*. He has the raw abilities and the potential to be a solid safety. He'd be good in conjunction with Harry as a run-support safety and perimeter defender. Plus can back up Peterson as a good tackler and pursuer of players. If he does move to safety, expect him to potentially break out and have an excellent season. If he doesn't move to safety, expect him to turn into a quality special teams player with a penchant for making plays.

Mike Hughes - Special teams player, Dime CB. I do not see him starting anytime soon and he's likely going to be let go of his contract once it ends. Do not expect him to return to Minnesota unless he signs an extremely cheap deal. At special teams, he likely will do well until another injury takes him out.

Kris Boyd - Backup #5 CB. He'll probably be rotated in and out with Alexander in the Slot, but expect him to be on special teams and when on the defensive formation proper, expect him to hopefully progress and be a decent tackler.

Harrison Hand - Another possible dark horse backup. I think he had a decent season with what he was given and I think he'll be a solid rotational and situational player for the team this year.

Dylan Mabin - Probably not gonna the recent influx of cornerbacks, but if he does make it, expect him to be a developmental guy for the foreseeable future.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by CharVike » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:35 am

It's a wish and a prayer with this group. Dantzler will be a starter. Alexander in the slot. It's a wish they are average. Peterson? Yes he was all world and Zimmer is considered a veteran CB guru, Newman?, but IMO the guy has lost his speed. After being garbage for 2 years straight he is a prayer. I don't really care for this signing plus he's extremely over paid. With Newman I couldn't wait for him to get out of the lineup. Once your speed is gone forget about it. He will be the target and will get smoked. Hughes? I had high hopes but he's was a bad draft pick. Time to kick that can down the road. Gladney had 21 missed tackles. I don't see safety for him because he can't tackle. This has bust written all over him. But I'm praying that he will step up. The rest are special team players that you wish never see the field at CB. Nothing jumps out at me here. If Peterson was 25 and at the top of his game sure that would jump out. He wouldn't be a FA if that was the case. This is a below average group. I'm praying and wishing it becomes average and gets some interceptions. Plus throw in only one old safety and a ? to help our slow CBs I just don't see a big turn around here. I'm wishing that it becomes average.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:14 am

I think Hand is a candidate be the FS. I agree the order is likely Dantzler, Peterson, Mac, Gladney, then Hughes or Boyd. I actually think this is one of the best cornerback groups in the league and that this defense is poised to make a massive jump.

My biggest concern is the pass rush as I'm going to be skeptical of Hunter until I see him on the field and dominating like he used to and every other DE is average or a project. They might very well have their pick of the ends at 14 which will be very hard for Zimmer to pass on despite the offensive line being what it is.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by CharVike » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:50 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:14 am
I think Hand is a candidate be the FS. I agree the order is likely Dantzler, Peterson, Mac, Gladney, then Hughes or Boyd. I actually think this is one of the best cornerback groups in the league and that this defense is poised to make a massive jump.

My biggest concern is the pass rush as I'm going to be skeptical of Hunter until I see him on the field and dominating like he used to and every other DE is average or a project. They might very well have their pick of the ends at 14 which will be very hard for Zimmer to pass on despite the offensive line being what it is.
They need to do something with the pass rush. It's hard to play CB at a high level without it. But our defense will improve I don't doubt that. Zimmer will put plenty of effort into it. That's his passion and he has proven to have the skill to make it work. That's been our main focus in FA and I imagine that will continue through the draft. If DE is picked at 14 it wouldn't bother me. Hunter is in the who knows territory. Hopefully he comes back just the same as before. That will be huge for us.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:58 pm

CharVike wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:50 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:14 am
I think Hand is a candidate be the FS. I agree the order is likely Dantzler, Peterson, Mac, Gladney, then Hughes or Boyd. I actually think this is one of the best cornerback groups in the league and that this defense is poised to make a massive jump.

My biggest concern is the pass rush as I'm going to be skeptical of Hunter until I see him on the field and dominating like he used to and every other DE is average or a project. They might very well have their pick of the ends at 14 which will be very hard for Zimmer to pass on despite the offensive line being what it is.
They need to do something with the pass rush. It's hard to play CB at a high level without it. But our defense will improve I don't doubt that. Zimmer will put plenty of effort into it. That's his passion and he has proven to have the skill to make it work. That's been our main focus in FA and I imagine that will continue through the draft. If DE is picked at 14 it wouldn't bother me. Hunter is in the who knows territory. Hopefully he comes back just the same as before. That will be huge for us.
Totally agree with all of that. :beerock:
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Rhodes Closed » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:24 pm

So with the signing of Xavier Woods, what does this mean for Jeff Gladney?

I assume he's now going to be turned into a rotational Slot/Outside guy for when Peterson/Danztler/Alexander need to go out.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm

Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:24 pm
So with the signing of Xavier Woods, what does this mean for Jeff Gladney?

I assume he's now going to be turned into a rotational Slot/Outside guy for when Peterson/Danztler/Alexander need to go out.
Yeah I see him as depth and rotation to play matchups.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by S197 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:05 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:24 pm
So with the signing of Xavier Woods, what does this mean for Jeff Gladney?

I assume he's now going to be turned into a rotational Slot/Outside guy for when Peterson/Danztler/Alexander need to go out.
Yeah I see him as depth and rotation to play matchups.
Why on Earth would you spend a 1st round pick for a depth/rotational corner? That's not meant criticism directed at you, the fact that we have no idea where our 1st round pick is going to be playing speaks volumes. You grab a corner in the first round for one purpose, to be your shut down guy.

Mac at the vet minimum is a fine signing, so maybe it doesn't change anything but he should be the rotational/depth guy, not Gladney. It already stings that we've spent two first round picks on slot corners.

I still think Peterson at safety, even if he said he's playing corner, makes the most sense. You maximize the amount of talent you have on the field as you're going to be in the nickel set more than any other package. If someone gets hurt, he can move to corner and Gladney/Alexander can move inside.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Rhodes Closed » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:18 pm

S197 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:05 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm


Yeah I see him as depth and rotation to play matchups.
Why on Earth would you spend a 1st round pick for a depth/rotational corner? That's not meant criticism directed at you, the fact that we have no idea where our 1st round pick is going to be playing speaks volumes. You grab a corner in the first round for one purpose, to be your shut down guy.

Mac at the vet minimum is a fine signing, so maybe it doesn't change anything but he should be the rotational/depth guy, not Gladney. It already stings that we've spent two first round picks on slot corners.

I still think Peterson at safety, even if he said he's playing corner, makes the most sense. You maximize the amount of talent you have on the field as you're going to be in the nickel set more than any other package. If someone gets hurt, he can move to corner and Gladney/Alexander can move inside.
Do you think he'll start over Xavier Woods or is Minnesota going to implement a 3-safety formation?
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by RandyMoss84 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:45 pm

S197 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:05 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm


Yeah I see him as depth and rotation to play matchups.
Why on Earth would you spend a 1st round pick for a depth/rotational corner? That's not meant criticism directed at you, the fact that we have no idea where our 1st round pick is going to be playing speaks volumes. You grab a corner in the first round for one purpose, to be your shut down guy.

Mac at the vet minimum is a fine signing, so maybe it doesn't change anything but he should be the rotational/depth guy, not Gladney. It already stings that we've spent two first round picks on slot corners.

I still think Peterson at safety, even if he said he's playing corner, makes the most sense. You maximize the amount of talent you have on the field as you're going to be in the nickel set more than any other package. If someone gets hurt, he can move to corner and Gladney/Alexander can move inside.
Peterson said he will not move to safety
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:54 pm

S197 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:05 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm


Yeah I see him as depth and rotation to play matchups.
Why on Earth would you spend a 1st round pick for a depth/rotational corner? That's not meant criticism directed at you, the fact that we have no idea where our 1st round pick is going to be playing speaks volumes. You grab a corner in the first round for one purpose, to be your shut down guy.

Mac at the vet minimum is a fine signing, so maybe it doesn't change anything but he should be the rotational/depth guy, not Gladney. It already stings that we've spent two first round picks on slot corners.

I still think Peterson at safety, even if he said he's playing corner, makes the most sense. You maximize the amount of talent you have on the field as you're going to be in the nickel set more than any other package. If someone gets hurt, he can move to corner and Gladney/Alexander can move inside.
It's not a very good return on investment that's for sure. I think all of them will see quite a lot of playing time. May the best man win.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by S197 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:12 pm

Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:18 pm
S197 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:05 pm


Why on Earth would you spend a 1st round pick for a depth/rotational corner? That's not meant criticism directed at you, the fact that we have no idea where our 1st round pick is going to be playing speaks volumes. You grab a corner in the first round for one purpose, to be your shut down guy.

Mac at the vet minimum is a fine signing, so maybe it doesn't change anything but he should be the rotational/depth guy, not Gladney. It already stings that we've spent two first round picks on slot corners.

I still think Peterson at safety, even if he said he's playing corner, makes the most sense. You maximize the amount of talent you have on the field as you're going to be in the nickel set more than any other package. If someone gets hurt, he can move to corner and Gladney/Alexander can move inside.
Do you think he'll start over Xavier Woods or is Minnesota going to implement a 3-safety formation?
In that scenario, I would see Woods as a backup. There’s a lot of transitional signings this year, Woods, Alexander, Peterson are all on 1-yr deals. So perhaps the idea is start them if the rookie at the respective spot isn’t ready and if they are, they provide depth. For the cost of Woods and Mac, that would make sense. Not a great ROI as Maelstrom pointed out on Gladney but I think after last year Zimmer is really looking for experience.

If Peterson is a stop gap, it will be interesting to see who their long term plan is opposite Dantzler. I’d have to imagine it isn’t Hughes.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by StanM » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:32 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:14 am
My biggest concern is the pass rush as I'm going to be skeptical of Hunter until I see him on the field and dominating like he used to and every other DE is average or a project. They might very well have their pick of the ends at 14 which will be very hard for Zimmer to pass on despite the offensive line being what it is.
I hear a lot of speculation about Hunter’s neck but does anybody know what procedure he had done? The reason I wonder is that I had a two level fusion in 2001 at 50 that consisted of removing two damaged discs (auto accident damage the year before), titanium brace and screws and donor bone. I am fine as I approach 70 but I stay off of four wheelers and things like that. By way of comparison Manning had a one level fusion and played a few more years.

As a result of my injury I did a lot of research about the procedures that were available and being developed at that time. There were procedures where they inject some kind of substance in the disc as well as artificial discs being developed. It would depend on where the ruptured disc is and where it is putting pressure. Mine was compromising the spinal chord hence the need for a more invasive two level fusion. When discs are removed and fused together a person loses that amount of cushioning and that would potentially end a football career. I think without knowing exactly what they did when they went in there it’s hard to predict if it will have a negative impact. They were experimenting with micro surgery on the discs and all kinds of innovative procedures in 2001. NFL players have access to the best surgeons and cutting edge technology that is working stiffs don’t always have.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:55 pm

StanM wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:32 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:14 am
My biggest concern is the pass rush as I'm going to be skeptical of Hunter until I see him on the field and dominating like he used to and every other DE is average or a project. They might very well have their pick of the ends at 14 which will be very hard for Zimmer to pass on despite the offensive line being what it is.
I hear a lot of speculation about Hunter’s neck but does anybody know what procedure he had done? The reason I wonder is that I had a two level fusion in 2001 at 50 that consisted of removing two damaged discs (auto accident damage the year before), titanium brace and screws and donor bone. I am fine as I approach 70 but I stay off of four wheelers and things like that. By way of comparison Manning had a one level fusion and played a few more years.

As a result of my injury I did a lot of research about the procedures that were available and being developed at that time. There were procedures where they inject some kind of substance in the disc as well as artificial discs being developed. It would depend on where the ruptured disc is and where it is putting pressure. Mine was compromising the spinal chord hence the need for a more invasive two level fusion. When discs are removed and fused together a person loses that amount of cushioning and that would potentially end a football career. I think without knowing exactly what they did when they went in there it’s hard to predict if it will have a negative impact. They were experimenting with micro surgery on the discs and all kinds of innovative procedures in 2001. NFL players have access to the best surgeons and cutting edge technology that is working stiffs don’t always have.
Yeah I have no idea I just worry anytime a neck spinal issue comes up. I'm really hoping he can play a long time and pick up right where he left off. Glad you were able to get a solution that works and doesn't restrict you too much.
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Re: The Cornerback Conundrum

Post by VikingLord » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:54 pm

Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Cam Danztler - Will be our #1 starting Outside Corner. He's likely going to cover the top WR on the opposing teams, and hopefully he improves even more than the solid season he had last year.
If Dantzler isn't one of the two starting CBs next season I'll be shocked. He finished out last season very well and there is every reason to believe he'll be better this season. I'm a little concerned that Dantzler might struggle to avoid injuries given his build but if he stays healthy he has the chance to develop into one of the better CBs in the league.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Patrick Peterson - He'll likely be our #2 Cornerback, with his experience and leadership, he'll obviously be the leader of the cornerback corps. One thing I will say is that I believe Peterson is far more of a fit on Minnesota's scheme than he was in Arizona's recent defensive scheme. Peterson is only 30 and I believe if anyone can refresh him into some of what he once was, it's Mike Zimmer. Expect Peterson to slowly return to form as the season goes on and possibly be a real asset to the team stat wise.
The contract suggests Peterson will be the other starting CB. But it is a 1 year deal so it also suggests the Vikings view Peterson as a bridge veteran who is capable of providing quality snaps but who isn't necessarily going to be the clear starter. I see this signing and contract more as a hedge in case Gladney and/or Hughes either can't get it done or, in the case of Gladney, don't develop as quickly as the Vikings hope.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Mackensie Alexander - Starting Slot corner. It's right where he needs to be, where he is most effective, and his ability to sniff out plays and passes is undeniable. He's also a great pass-rusher and if used in conjunction with Barr and Kendricks, the three can definitely create some absolute disorientation for opposing Quarterbacks.
Not sure on this one either. The Mac contract doesn't suggest the Vikings are sold on him locking down the slot. The way Hand played last year, I think there is a good chance Hand becomes the starter at slot with Mac backing him up and/or adding an additional DB on max coverage sets.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Jeff Gladney - This is where things get interesting. I'm going to predict that Gladney will be moving to *safety*. He has the raw abilities and the potential to be a solid safety. He'd be good in conjunction with Harry as a run-support safety and perimeter defender. Plus can back up Peterson as a good tackler and pursuer of players. If he does move to safety, expect him to potentially break out and have an excellent season. If he doesn't move to safety, expect him to turn into a quality special teams player with a penchant for making plays.
I don't know if I am ready to write Gladney off as a CB quite yet. Could he fill in at safety? Sure, he probably could, but its not a position he's ever played and if you asked me which of Peterson or Gladney would be more effective at safety and more capable of making that transition, Peterson would be the player. I think Gladney is going to get every chance to win that other starting CB job along with Hughes. Peterson is insurance, but I have no doubt the Vikings would prefer one of their two past first rounders win the starting CB job outright this offseason.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Mike Hughes - Special teams player, Dime CB. I do not see him starting anytime soon and he's likely going to be let go of his contract once it ends. Do not expect him to return to Minnesota unless he signs an extremely cheap deal. At special teams, he likely will do well until another injury takes him out.
Hughes has had horrible luck in terms of injuries so far, but if he's healthy he's far more than a special teams player or a dime CB. If he's healthy he should be capable of competing for the other starting CB job. He might not win it, but he should be competing for it or they might as well cut him right now.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Kris Boyd - Backup #5 CB. He'll probably be rotated in and out with Alexander in the Slot, but expect him to be on special teams and when on the defensive formation proper, expect him to hopefully progress and be a decent tackler.
Agree with this. Boyd isn't a starter and shouldn't be playing significant minutes. If he is, things aren't going well.
Rhodes Closed wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:52 am
Harrison Hand - Another possible dark horse backup. I think he had a decent season with what he was given and I think he'll be a solid rotational and situational player for the team this year.
I think Hand is more than capable of outright winning the starting slot role. I'll go farther and predict he will win it. He played very well over the last quarter of the season, making lots of plays on the ball and showing solid understanding. Hand is a player to watch on defense next year.

To sum, I see both the Peterson and Mac signings as vet insurance. The Vikings really struggled all last season at CB due to the lack of any veteran leadership. Couple that with a lack of a pass rush and the defense never had a chance. Spielman and Zimmer know they can't have a repeat of last year in the secondary, and I assume they know they also can't have a repeat of last year along the defensive line. So they're making moves to shore both of those position groups up. But the players they are signing and the contracts they are signing them to suggest they are looking at the moves as short term insurance rather than long term investments to build around.

If things go well, neither Peterson nor Mac will be featured players for the Vikings next year.
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