Texans Release Just the Perfect Player for the Vikings

Aug 27, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Desmond King II (0) and safety Jimmie Ward (1) and safety Jalen Pitre (5) look on during pregame against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Roster cutdown day is a tough part of the NFL calendar as teams have to part ways with solid football players and even better human beings in an industry that sometimes forgets the latter part. Decision-makers must make some hard decisions, and the Vikings have started with that by releasing 17 players on Monday.

Texans Release Just the Perfect Player for the Vikings

Other teams do the same thing and have different roster strengths and priorities, so they cut players the Vikings could need, and that is exactly what happened. The Houston Texans released veteran cornerback Desmond King, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should call his agent.

perfect player
Jan 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Desmond King (20) celebrates as Baltimore Ravens walks off the field after fourth quarter fumble in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

King, 28, has been a fabulous cornerback for years at three different organizations. Coming out of Iowa in the 2017 draft, King was a fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers. He showed his potential when he secured eight interceptions in his junior year, leading to the Jim Thorpe Trophy as the nation’s best defensive back, and he was also a unanimous All-American.

In the pre-draft process, he lacked size and speed at 5’10” and 201 lbs and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. But there is a role for players like that in the pros, and he found his niche in the slot. In his six NFL seasons, King appeared in 95 games, starting 53 of them, although it should be noted that nickel cornerbacks don’t always count as starters. He played on at least 64% of the snaps in every season of his career.

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (11) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) talk during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

So why is that interesting for the Vikings? Well, the cornerback group is still a mystery. The expected starters are free-agent signing Byron Murphy, sophomore Akayleb Evans, and rookie Mekhi Blackmon. If one of the two unproven players underwhelmed in the first real season as a starter in the NFL, the Vikings’ defense is in trouble, and defensive coordinator Brian Flores can do only so much to offset that, no matter how good he is at his job as defensive coordinator — he also needs the personnel to run his defense.

The depth behind the two young players is also shaky, as Andrew Booth still isn’t close to starting, and Joejuan Williams has been outplayed by his teammates. In case of injury, they were the top replacements, and that is a scary thought.

There is a world in which both Evans and Blackmon play well enough for the defense to function, but it is more likely that the expected growing pains will show on the field. Bringing in a veteran like King, who is, at the very least, a dependable bridge starter, is a great strategy to prevent the youth from holding back the defense. If Blackmon and Evans were both indeed somehow better than King, the experienced cornerback would provide quality depth.

Dec 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Desmond King II (25) reacts during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

He started his career in the slot as a nickel player but transitioned to playing more on the outside in the last couple of seasons, so he had a similar path as Murphy, and the defensive back group would provide the flexibility and versatility Flores wants to operate with.

King is a safe player without much risk involved and perhaps relatively cheap as a recently released player. He could be the veteran in the cornerback group fans have wanted the Vikings to sign for months.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt