Bleacher Report Identifies Nifty Little Camp Battle for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings will have at least five camp battles this summer, including duels for WR2 (Jordan Addison vs. K.J. Osborn), RB2 (Ty Chandler vs. DeWayne McBride), Dalvin Tomlinson’s old spot (DT, Khyiris Tonga vs. Jaquelin Roy), and maybe even kicker (Greg Joseph vs. Jack Podlesny).

But according to Bleacher Report, all those pale in comparison to ‘the other cornerback spots.’

Bleacher Report Identifies Nifty Little Camp Battle for Vikings

Minnesota signed Byron Murphy in March, and he seems like the only corner guaranteed to win a starter’s job. The rest are up for grabs.

Identifies Nifty Little
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In an article by Gary Davenport titled Predicting Early Winners of Biggest Position Battles at 2023 NFL OTAs, the Vikings made the list, with a threeway feud between Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and rookie Mekhi Blackmon evidently on tap.

Booth and Evans were rookies in 2022, regrettably beset by multiple injuries apiece. Evans actually performed adeptly on the field when concussion didn’t ravage his maiden voyage, while Booth didn’t look good and suffered a couple of different ailments. Blackmon, 24, has a clean slate and could conceivably steal a job after a productive summer.

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
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Davenport described the three-man showdown at OTAs and beyond, “There may not be a contender with a bigger need in the NFL than the Minnesota Vikings at cornerback after a season in which the team was dead last in the NFC in pass defense. The Vikings signed Byron Murphy in the offseason to occupy one starting spot — probably in the slot. That puts substantial pressure on second-year pros Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans to take a big step forward in 2023.”

Booth was a 2nd-Rounder from the 2022 NFL Draft, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded 2023 draft capital to land Evans in the 4th Round 13 months ago.

“Booth and Evans had uneven first seasons, and the Vikings used the 102nd overall pick on USC’s Mekhi Blackmon. But the Vikings don’t just want Booth and Evans to take a step forward and become quality starters in 2023. Minnesota needs them to,” Davenport added.

4 New Vikings Are
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Because of Booth’s draft stock and Evans’ commendable performance as a rookie, those two probably have a slight advantage to start over Blackmon. The Vikings found Blackmon from USC, and he was a teammate of 1st-Round wideout Jordan Addison. But even if Blackmon doesn’t expressly nab a starting job, he can still contribute in the crevices of the defense as a rookie.

Minnesota also has about $10 million in cap space as of May 19th and could sign a veteran corner like Marcus Peters, William Jackson, or Eli Apple.

Other notable camp battles mentioned by Davenport? Sam Howell vs. Jacoby Brissett in Washington, Baker Mayfield vs. Kyle Trask in Tampa Bay, and Bryce Young vs. Andy Dalton in Carolina, among others.

Vikings mandatory minicamp opens on June 13th.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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