The question as to whether or not the Vikings are in the midst of a rebuild has been answered, and those who claimed the idea that a team that is shedding core player after core player constitutes “normal” off-season turnover have gone silent, as nearly every bit of news coming out of Eagan this week has been about the Vikings losing players in nearly every way possible (in terms of letting free agents walk, trading young superstars, and letting players opt out of deals).
That objective fact was reinforced, yet again, as it was announced that now-former nickel corner Mackenzie Alexander had followed his former and current teammate Trae Waynes to Cincy to join the Bengals defense.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 19, 2020
While the one-year deal the Bengals offered Alexander might imply that he wasn’t worth getting upset about (as it’s basically a prove it deal), his loss means that the Vikings have lost their top three corners this week. With the Anthony Harris to Cleveland Browns trade still being a possibility (which, based on how this week has gone, means it’s a definite), the Vikings could be out four of their top five players in the secondary from 2019.
Regardless of what you think about Mackenzie Alexander and his up-and-down (but mostly down) career with the Vikings, it’s starting to feel like the Vikings will struggle to even put a team on the field come the start of the 2020 season. While I’m clearly being hyperbolic to make a point, one has to wonder why the team decided to extend quarterback Kirk Cousins if their plan was to completely dismantle their defense and trade away Stefon Diggs.
With Alexander gone and Harris potentially following him, the Vikings now have massive needs nearly everywhere on the defense except the linebacker position (for now). The other side of the ball has less position-by-position needs, but is still very, very precarious especially after the team decided to cut right guard Josh Kline to save under two million dollars.
Considering the fact that this team has yet to put together an offensive line that hasn’t torpedoed their entire season, losing one of the only bright spots on an otherwise bad line means that this team now has needs at left tackle, left guard, and right guard. Even if they move right tackle to left tackle, they’ll still have needs at three of the five line spots (unless Dru Samia can go from third on the depth chart to either the left or right guard spot).
This is truly the end of an era.