Cardinals Could End Up with Another Former Vikings CB

Cardinals Could End Up with Another Former Vikings CB
Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes

Former Minnesota Vikings 1st-Round pick Jeff Gladney passed away on May 30 in a tragic car accident. Gladney was slated to start for the 2022 Arizona Cardinals.

Eventually, for the “football part” of the tragedy, the Cardinals must find a cornerback for the 2022 defense. Men like Byron Murphy Jr. or Antonio Hamilton could emerge as a starting corner, but Arizona is probably more likely to sign a CB with some starting experience.

The Cardinals could reasonably sign Joe Haden or Chris Harris, both free agents. Or Arizona could sign another former Viking as a few remain available on the free-agent wire.

The most obvious addition from the allotment of former Vikings is Xavier Rhodes. He played with the Vikings for seven seasons, tallying three Pro Bowl appearances and one First-Team All-Pro award. Down the stretch of his Vikings career, Rhodes sputtered — he still made the Pro Bowl in 2019 for some reason — but had a mini-rejuvenation with the Indianapolis Colts.

Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joining the Colts in free agency two years ago, Rhodes posted a 76.3 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020 and a 61.8 score in 2021. At age 31, Rhodes has some left in the tank and would probably be an upgrade for the 2022 Cardinals.

Rhodes has also been mentioned by Cardinals writers as a free-agent option.

If not Rhodes, well, Trae Waynes is available, too. Waynes left the Vikings at the same time as Rhodes in 2020 but did not find similar success in Cincinnati. The Bengals onboarded Waynes as a free agent in 2020 with an attractive contract, but the Michigan State alumnus only played five games in two years for Cincinnati. All things related to Waynes have been strangely quiet during the 2022 free-agent period, so perhaps he is contemplating his future.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) is unable to catch a ball while being covered by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes. MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL.

Waynes has played in 79 career NFL games, starting 57 of them. He, like Rhodes, has more starting experience than the Cardinals current CB options.

Finally, if Arizona wishes to shift one of its slot corners to the outside, former Viking Mackensie Alexander is also a free agent. But Alexander’s 2021 season was dreadful, ranking as the league’s worst cornerback, according to PFF. In theory, though, if the Cardinals classified Alexander’s 2021 season as merely a “down year,” he could provide experience for the Cardinals deficient secondary.

The Vikings and Cardinals play on October 30th at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Former Vikings Nick Vigil (LB) and Danny Isidora (OL) are currently on the Cardinals roster.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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