This Is the Vikings Training Camp Battle to Watch

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There will be some interesting position battles to watch when the Vikings begin their training camp in late July. One of them will be between rookie and first-round pick Jordan Addison and veteran K.J. Osborn for the starting gig opposite of Justin Jefferson. Last year’s first-rounder Lewis Cine who is back from injury, will also have to go up against Camryn Bynum once again.

This Is the Vikings Training Camp Battle to Watch

More competitions on the offensive side of the ball are for the backup quarterback spot between Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens, depending on how ready Hall already is. In addition to that, it will interesting to see who will be the starting running back in case of Dalvin Cook’s departure. Will it be the favorite Alexander Mattison or can one of rookie DeWayne McBride and second-year player Ty Chandler complete the upset?

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, a 2nd-Round draft pick. He was welcomed to the Vikings from free agency in March 2023.

Another big theme will be the overhauled defense, a unit that cost the Vikings and their decent offense a second postseason contest in the 2022 season. Brian Flores was hired to coordinate the new defense and the front office got rid of half of the starting defense, including most cornerbacks. That is why that camp battle will be fun to watch. Nobody knows who will come out on top in the newly put-together CB group.

Kristopher Knox from Bleacher Report named it the training camp battle to watch for Minnesota.

The Vikings defense was a disaster in 2022, finishing 31st in passing yards allowed, 31st in total yards allowed and 28th in points allowed. Unsurprisingly, Minnesota retooled its cornerback room this offseason.

Gone are corners Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Duke Shelley, Kris Boyd and Cameron Dantzler. Minnesota signed Byron Murphy and Joejuan Williams before drafting USC’s Mekhi Blackmon and LSU’s Jay Ward.

The contracts of Peterson, Shelley, and Sullivan expired. Peterson and slot cornerback Sullivan joined the Steelers while Shelley will meet the Vikings in Week 14 for their road game in Las Vegas. Dantzler, meanwhile, was waived in March. The Commanders picked him up but have already released him. He’s currently a free agent.

Load the Box: Position Battles
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The new guys will compete with the few remaining cornerbacks from last year. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah kept both 2022 rookies Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth. The duo missed much of their debut seasons injured. Booth suffered three separate injuries and played just roughly 100 snaps across six games in which he mostly struggled. K.J. Osborn raved about him, as he is apparently in great shape leading up to his second season.

Evans had some promising moments as a rookie but sustained two concussions. That is bad for his development but even worse for his long-term health. Murphy is widely expected to be a starter, as he was the top free-agent addition. Williams surprisingly received some reps with the first-team defense.

This Is the Vikings Training Camp Battle to Watch
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.

It is an extremely young group, but Knox anticipates the presence of Flores to help limit the downside of it.

There’s a lot of youth at the cornerback position in Minnesota, and there’s even more uncertainty. What is certain is that the Vikings will struggle to keep pace with the top teams in the NFC if they cannot substantially improve their pass defense.

The offseason addition of seasoned defensive coordinator Brian Flores should help, but the Vikings need to see a competent crop of cornerbacks emerge as starters during camp.

Indeed, finally finding some stability at CB, and finding at least an average combination, is crucial for the Vikings in the near future after three years of subpar cornerback play. A team that can’t defend the passing game won’t be a team that is playing late in January.

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