Vikings Strangely Urged to Sign Veteran Free Agent Cornerback

Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have started 1-3 into the 2023 campaign, a disappointing record after going 13-4 in 2022. However, the roster has some serious flaws, and the team hasn’t played a clean football game, so the results are the logical consequence. Minnesota has already started to acquire some players to get rid of those flaws.

Vikings Strangely Urged to Sign Veteran Free Agent Cornerback

Running back Cam Akers joined the purple team via trade and replaced Ty Chandler as the second running back in the new committee in the building after the departure of Dalvin Cook. Akers made his Vikings debut in Week 4 and had a wonderful outing against the Carolina Panthers, rushing for 40 yards on only eight carries and adding two catches for 11 yards, proving a solid option.

Vikings Strangely Urged to Sign Veteran Free Agent Cornerback
Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan (29) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Then, there is the free agent market. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added guard Dalton Risner after Week 2, but he hasn’t logged a snap on offense, and the coaching staff kept the starting five in place. Another position some pundits want to see the Vikings add some reinforcements is the secondary.

Bleacher Report’s NFL staff believes the Vikings desperately need some new players to fix the defensive issues, especially at the CB position.

Part of the reason the Vikings have stumbled out of the gates this season is their secondary has been struggling. Heading into the weekend, they ranked tied for 25th in passing yards allowed per game, according to, and free-agent signing Byron Murphy hasn’t lived up to expectations.

While Callahan might not be the solution to all of Minnesota’s problems, he could at least provide some depth to the position group and give the Vikings a veteran option to turn to if things don’t start improving. He’s coming off a campaign in which he allowed just 370 passing yards in 15 games, per Pro Football Reference, so it couldn’t hurt to bring the veteran in.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) holds the ball as Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) make the tackle during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Indeed, Minnesota’s cornerback room is not playing at 2017 standards when Xavier Rhodes just locked up receivers, and the unit doesn’t have a bona fide star. Byron Murphy was signed as the top player. The return has been mixed. Murphy had some fantastic reps but also some bad ones. And it is not entirely his fault.

First of all, he had to learn a new defensive scheme, and there should always be some patience in the transition phase. In addition to that, the scheme is a nightmare for cornerbacks because defensive coordinator Brian Flores loves to blitz.

To some extent, that hides the deficiencies of coverage players but also leaves them on an island with wideouts without safety help over the top–a tough ask for any defender.

Be Slept
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (1) catches the ball as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) defends in the fourth quarter during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He and sophomore Akayleb Evans have been fine. They haven’t played at an All-Pro level, but they haven’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination. Even when Keenan Allen and Justin Herbert carved up the defenses in Week 3, they played a solid game.

The most significant problem of the defense is the lack of pass rush. Danielle Hunter was the only player for three weeks who was able to put pressure on QBs, especially with Marcus Davenport laboring an ankle injury. Without an effective pass-rush, the task of covering one-on-one is not just hard. It is impossible.

While the duo hasn’t been flawless, replacing either one is not a priority at this point, especially because the cornerbacks looking for a job aren’t great players.

kevin o'connell hints more
Dec 11, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report wants the Vikings to go after Bryce Callahan, a soon-to-be 32-year-old slot cornerback who doesn’t fix any of the Vikings’ issues. Flores rarely plays with three cornerbacks and prefers to run a big nickel package with Josh Metellus in addition to the two starting safeties Camryn Bynum and Harrison Smith.

If Flores wanted to change that approach, Callahan would undoubtedly be a good option to fill that nickel spot, but the staff loves Metellus, and he will not be replaced after playing well all season.

Callahan wouldn’t be the first cheap addition in Adofo-Mensah’s tenure. The GM likes to add players whose value has a chance to exceed the costs. But the veteran wouldn’t fix any of the problems. Adding another pass-rusher makes more sense.

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