NFL ‘Stat of the Day’ Is Really Somethin’ for Vikings

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception with teammates during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings welcomed a handful of new cornerbacks this offseason, including veterans Byron Murphy, Joejuan Williams, and John Reid. USC’s Mekhi Blackmon joined from the 2023 NFL Draft. C.J. Coldon, NaJee Thompson, and Jaylin Williams entered the fold via undrafted free agency.

NFL ‘Stat of the Day’ Is Really Somethin’ for Vikings

Meanwhile, an astounding amount of veteran CBs departed the organization: Patrick Peterson (Steelers), Duke Shelley (Raiders), Cameron Dantlzer (Bills), Chandon Sullivan (Steelers), and Kris Boyd (Cardinals).

Stat of the Day
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) warms up before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Winds of change indeed in the Vikings secondary, new defensive coordinator Brian Flores will hope to repair the defense that allowed the second-most passing yards to opponents in 2022. Flores took over for the exiting Ed Donatell in February and evidently sought full-scale change in the CB room.

And the roster turnover at CB was so vast that it caught the attention of one man for an ‘NFL stat of the day.’ The Huddle Report‘s Sam Teets tweeted Wednesday, “Stat of the day: According to PFF, this offseason the Minnesota Vikings said goodbye to five cornerbacks who either played outside or in the nickel and contributed a total of 2,990 defensive snaps in 2022.

Vikings Really Dropped
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) celebrates a defensive pass breakup during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Whether this stat implies a positive or negative future in Minnesota is in the eye of the beholder. Some might suggest maintaining some semblance of cornerback continuity is preferred. After all, the Vikings created a point of emphasis in the last six months to maintain total offensive line continuity, returning all five starters from 2022. Why not cornerback?

Others disagree.

Bills Pilfer
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) looks back at Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) on a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory‘s Janik Eckardt took notice of the Teets tweet and opined, “After watching them play for 18 games, I have to say: thank god.”

On the whole, it seemed quasi-miraculous in retrospect that the Vikings pulled off 13 wins in 2022 en route to an NFC North title while showcasing the league’s third-worst defense per points allowed. Imagine a 13-win team’s ceiling in a given season if it didn’t hand out points to opponents like candy.

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Thankfully, you’ll get a verdict on the Vikings CB plan before too long. The regular season kicks off in 67 days. The aforementioned Murphy is on deck to start at CB1, with one player from this group starting at CB2: Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, Joejuan Williams, or Mekhi Blackmon.

Minnesota can’t get much worse by surrendering passing yards and touchdowns through the air. We shall see if utterly shunning CB continuity was the righteous path.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by