This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first three questions HERE, HERE, and HERE.
CAMP QUESTION #4 – BATTLE OF THE YOUTH
The Minnesota Vikings are primed for a competitive 10 days of training camp in Mankato. From the battles at offensive line to the stalemate at strong safety, the team’s depth chart is sure to be in a constant state of flux. But neither position will experience as much jockeying as cornerback, where general manager Rick Spielman has said the team is “trying to keep as much competition” as they can.
Xavier Rhodes is the clear starter on one side of the field, and he’s in no place to lose his job in the next two years. Minnesota picked up his fifth-year option this offseason, locking up Rhodes through 2017. It’s on the other side of the field where things get complicated.
Sure, Terence Newman returns on a one-year, $3-million deal this year, but second-year cornerback Trae Waynes is waiting in the wings. Not to mention, the Vikings drafted Mackensie Alexander with this year’s second round pick, muddling an already deep unit of the roster.
Right now, it’s Rhodes, Newman, and Captain Munnerlyn at the top, with Waynes and Alexander sitting impatiently on the sidelines. Waynes enters training camp following an encouraging finish to 2015, while Mackensie arrives with the distinction of being a more pro-ready prospect coming out of college. Both have a chance to play this season, but it’s a matter of timing, circumstances, and performance; let the games begin.