Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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xavier rhodes

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the eighth article, focusing on the cornerbacks.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterbacksrunning backs, tight ends, fullbacks, wide outsspecialists and safeties.]

Xavier Rhodes used 2014 to vault himself into the shutdown cornerback conversation and Josh Robinson, one Bears game excluded, thrived in his role on the outside in Mike Zimmer’s defense. The way those two stepped up last year was a huge reason why the Vikings were able to jump up to the seventh ranked passing defense in the NFL.

One of last year’s big free agency acquisitions was Captain Munnerlyn, who signed on for a three year deal worth $11.25 million, but he was disappointing as a Vikings and his post-season remarks indicate he knew it.  Munnerlyn is due to have a cap hit of $3.8 million in 2015, but there would only be a $0.67 million dead cap penalty if they cut him, so it would not be a surprise if the Vikings approached Munnerlyn about taking a pay cut in exchange for job security. In fact, those talks are anticipated to take place in Indianapolis during the NFL Scouting Combine.

Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

A seventh round rookie is normally fairly expendable in today’s NFL.  Cornerback Jabari Price was looking like an exception, however, as he impressed coaching staff during training camp, preseason, and even in some very limited regular season action.

For the first time in a long time, Minnesota’s squad of corners was able to stay relatively healthy in 2014 and Price was not pressed into extensive playing time (46 defensive snaps).  He recorded 10 tackles on the season and played decently on special teams.

Almost a week ago, however, Price made a decision that could greatly impact his future with his current employers.

Price was arrested in Minnesota last Monday after testing at 0.13% blood alcohol level.  The arrest was for suspicion of DWI and has his first court appearance scheduled for February 9th.

The Vikings currently have Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater, and Marcus Sherels on the depth chart with Price.  Assuming they add some legitimate talent at some point this offseason, then Price has put himself behind the eight ball in any competition for a roster spot by getting himself into off-field trouble.

Price is unlikely to be released anytime soon over this incident, but it will cast a shadow over his potential in 2015.

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The Vikings aren’t losing games in the same predictable fashion week-after-week like they did last year.  Still, finding exciting new ways to lose football games doesn’t feel any better.

The Vikings had to fight a losing battle in Miami against the Dolphins, the bounce of the ball, and the officiating crew.  They weren’t necessarily their own worst enemy in this one, but they were definitely in the top five as boneheaded mistakes certainly helped the Dolphins crawl out of an early 14-0 hole.

Past Winner’s of our weekly award:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK SIX:  Linval Joseph

WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen

WEEK EIGHT:  Anthony Barr

WEEK NINE:  Everson Griffen

WEEK ELEVEN: Charles Johnson

WEEK TWELVE:  Xavier Rhodes

WEEK THIRTEEN:  Everson Griffen

WEEK FOURTEEN:  Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIFTEEN:  Xavier Rhodes

 

The nominations for Week Sixteen are…

The Vikings are no longer involved in any sort of playoff possibility, but this week’s matchup against the 7-7 Miami Dolphins presents a decent challenge and plenty of people will be watching this road game for continued progression out of Mike Zimmer’s young roster.  Here is the best of the best from around the internet:

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Well, we haven’t seen all 16 games of the 2014 regular season and the Vikings still have 120 minutes of football to play, but I think we have seen enough to start up the old Irresponsible Speculation Machine (I.S.M – trademarked!) and look towards the 2015 offseason and what we might expect.

I’ve already compiled an early list of the Vikings free agents potentially headed for the open market, while Arif attempted to project Minnesota’s cap situation, so now we get down to the task of identifying the top needs across the roster moving forward.  Obviously a team that has only won six of their first 14 games, none of which have come against teams with winning records, has plenty of room for improvement across the board.

Still, I’m going to attempt the dangerous task of narrowing it down to five, and in my most daring and harrowing feat to-date I will put them in order.  See you in the comments section, Vikings junkies!

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