Vikings May Need to Hold Open Tryouts at CB

Vikings Exercise Addition
Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The good news for the Minnesota Vikings is that the New England Patriots wide receiver room is basically a group of ghosts. The bad news is that even ghosts can catch the football, and Minnesota’s secondary may be void of truly anyone. For Thanksgiving night, fans still able to run after their feasts may be invited on the field.

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys absolutely torched Ed Donatell’s defense. Dak Prescott threw for 276 yards. And while Tony Pollard racked up triple-digits through the air, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup also had their way with the secondary, too. That was before injuries ravaged the group even further.

Akayleb Evans, the 4th-Round Vikings pick, emerged as a standout from the Washington Commanders game. He was able to stifle Taylor Heinecke and keep the passing attack in check, with Cam Dantzler placed on injured reserve. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion against the Buffalo Bills and was replaced by Andrew Booth Jr.

Vikings Youth to Be Tested Sunday
Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota opted to go with Lewis Cine as their 1st-Round pick in the latest draft, and needing cornerback help, it was Booth Jr. first off the board with their 2nd-Round pick. While talented coming out of Clemson, he slipped due to an inability to stay healthy. For that reason, his career didn’t immediately get off the ground, and now he’s again throwing a wrench in the Vikings plans.

Behind Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan, it’s Booth Jr. who was expected to step up and emerge as a force on Ed Donatell’s defense. Due to his lack of ability to stay healthy, his development has also been hampered. Not practicing and looking like a question mark for the Thanksgiving night game, Duke Shelley may play a role Kevin O’Connell never imagined him needing to do.

Dawson Knox and Duke Shelley. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Shelley has played four games this season for Minnesota and made a key play against Dawson Knox to save the Bills game a few weeks ago. He’s a former 6th-Round pick that started four games for the Chicago Bears a season ago. While he’s done fine when thrust into action, it’s certainly not an ideal scenario.

DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor aren’t world-beaters as wide receivers, and Mac Jones is hardly an otherworldly quarterback. Still, there’s not really a next man up to happen for the Vikings, and buying a ticket could undoubtedly get you on the field if things keep progressing this way.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.