The Minnesota Vikings are rounding out their depth chart for veteran competition before the draft, and have signed former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.
To go along with potential Pro Bowl-level talent Harrison Smith, the Vikings have Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton and Brandan Bishop.
Sanford has played at an above-average level for the past two years, and Sendejo looks to be a rising talent. Mistral Raymond, for a short period of time, was expected to be the starter but lost out due to injury and Sanford’s higher level of play. From a depth perspective, the Vikings are in a fantastic place, a complete turnaround from three years ago.
Coleman, unfortunately, hasn’t shown the kind of talent with the Eagles (and three defensive coordinators) to leapfrog Sendejo or Sanford for a starting role, but is definitely in the mix as a depth player and special teams standout.
Drafted in 2010 in the seventh round out of Ohio State (where he almost quit after paralyzing a teammate with a tackle in practice), with the 244th pick (a year later and 11 picks later than Jamarca Sanford), and that year ended up taking starter snaps by the end of Philadelphia’s crazy season (where Michael Vick replaced Kevin Kolb) when Nate Allen suffered from a season-ending injury in Week 15. In that time, he played very well—especially as an in-the-box safety.
By the beginning of 2011, he earned the starting spot outright, but didn’t play very well—especially in coverage, per Pro Football Focus, where he graded out with a -3.4 grade. In 2012, he looked worse both in coverage and run defense, where he only graded out positively twice in 14 games. He ranked 85th out of 88 safeties.
In 2013, he lost his starting spot very quickly to Patrick Chung, who the Eagles chose not to re-sign this year (along with Coleman). In the last four years, he’s ranked 119th out of 152 safeties (with over 500 snaps) in adjusted yards per target given up and achieved a PFF grade per snap of 128th in the same set.
In the last two years, he’s ranked 102nd of 105 in grade per snap and 90th in adjusted yards per target given up. Generally speaking he’s been better against the run than the pass, but below average at both.
In all honesty, Coleman really does present a solid depth option in the right scheme and has transferable skills that may serve him better in spot duty and could beat out some players on the bottom of the roster. He has a reputation for excellent special teams play, a fantastic work ethic and a good attitude that will give him a spot in the NFL, even if it isn’t with the Vikings.
Coleman is more than a depth option, and his brain could be picked not just for information about the defensive scheme Bill Davis ran at Philadelphia but more importantly the new brand of NFL offense that Chip Kelly is running with the Eagles. This sort of insight could prove invaluable as the NFL evolves, especially as the Vikings play against the Panthers and Redskins this year.