Going into the 2019 offseason it was believed that the cornerback position was arguably the Minnesota Viking’s deepest position group. Because of this belief there were many rumors this off-season that one of their starting cornerbacks, Xavier Rhodes or Trae Waynes, were expendable enough to be traded. However, the reality ended up being that these starters were too important to let go, so both are still signed at this time. However, again, both Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander are free agents after this season and Xavier Rhodes’ contract is getting pretty hefty if he continues to be injury prone.
So you might say, “Ian, isn’t this profile on Kris Boyd? Will you talk about him already?” This is me talking about Kris Boyd, because all of these points matter, even when we are speaking about a 7th round player. Zimmer has always been labeled as the cornerback whisperer, so, I believe that Boyd is a true test of that label. On the Vikings, Zimmer has not yet developed a late round cornerback. Before you can say Holton Hill, he was a 2nd round talent that dropped due to his off the field issues, which I will get to later.
So, can Kris Boyd (who has excelled at a Cover 2 scheme) transition to a Man defense? This is the big question that Boyd has to answer.
This transition isn’t always easy and it is the cause of a lot of players failing at the NFL level. But, it can be done, with the aforementioned Holton Hill as an example. Both Hill and Boyd came to us from the Texas Longhorns defense. They were even roommates in college. Boyd will stick to Hill like glue, and not only for his own sake, but also to hopefully help keep Hill out of trouble.
Why Kris Boyd makes the 53 man roster:
Simple, to start the season, Holton Hill is suspended and Mike Hughes may not be healthy as he is recovering from last years ACL tear. The true question may be if he can stick around after Hill’s suspension is lifted. The reason he will is not only due to depth, as I ask you what options we have behind him, but the talent that he holds as well.
As I was grading the incoming draft class, Kris Boyd didn’t always stick out in his cover skills, as he isn’t a ball hawk by any means. Where Boyd shines is his drive to the ball and his tackling skills. I had him as my highest graded tackling cornerback in the draft and ended up giving him a 4th round grade. Don’t sleep on this kid.
Why Kris Boyd does NOT make the 53 man roster:
Two words: Craig James. I believe a lot of analysts and even people in the Vikings world are sleeping on James. He didn’t shine, but there was a reason he stuck around and even was active on game day a couple weeks last year. He has the talent, so the question is, can he show it early and often in camp, as I believe that the draft picks, especially from this year’s class, have a leg up on him at this time.
But back to Boyd; as I mentioned, if he can’t transition from a Cover 2 to a Man scheme, his time on this team could be shortlived. If he takes the wrong page out of Hill’s storybook, he may also be gone very quickly.
Kris Boyd makes this roster. He has all the skills that you look for in a 5th or 6th cornerback. With the right training, Boyd could become a starter in this league and the Minnesota Vikings may have just found a diamond in the rough in the 7th round of the draft.