Vikings Can Still Find CB Help in Free Agency

Agents the Vikings Can
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The addition of cornerback Byron Murphy was arguably the most important signing in the last few years. He can be a true number-one cornerback for a team desperate for help after three consecutive seasons with suspect coverage. However, the Vikings must find a partner for him.

Cornerbacks always have to function as a tandem. One liability is enough for an offense to feast. The alternatives on the roster are Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth, two talented but unproven and injury-plagued players, in addition to roster-bubble players Tay Gowan and Kalon Barnes. A proven player must be added to the room.

Vikings Can Still Find CB Help in Free Agency

Most top players have signed their deals with new employers, but more than two weeks after the beginning of free agency, a few excellent players are still available, and the Vikings can find Murphy’s counterpart there.

Rock Ya-Sin

Drafted four years ago early in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts, Ya-Sin was traded to the Raiders before last season in exchange for former Vikings pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. He has played in 52 NFL games, including 38 starts.

Vikings Can Still Find CB Help in Free Agency
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Ya-Sin is one of the better cornerbacks in the league and will start wherever he signs. He possesses good size and can play in a man-heavy scheme, a necessary skill set in Brian Flores’ 2023 Vikings defense.

In 2022, he played for Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who comes from the New England coaching tree, just like Flores. The schemes of the two coordinators have many similarities, and Ya-Sin played well in a bad defense in Las Vegas. He’s perhaps the best player on the list but also likely the most expensive. Adding the 26-year-old could fix the Vikings’ CB problems in just one offseason.

Marcus Peters

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports.

The most experienced player in the group, Peters has been around since the 2015 draft, in which he was a first-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs. He collected all kinds of accolades over the years, including Rookie of the Year, first-team All-Pro twice, two times second-team All-Pro, and three Pro Bowls. His 32 career interceptions rank him third among active players, only trailing 2022 teammates with the Vikings Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson, who each have 34 picks.

Peters played the last four seasons with the Ravens after a stint with the Rams. Once a premier lockdown cornerback in the NFL, Peters turned 30 in January, so he can’t be a long-term solution like Ya-Sin, but he is still playing at a high level and can be the Peterson replacement as the veteran of the group. A one-year deal makes sense to explore for Minnesota.

Shaquill Griffin

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Griffin started his career in Seattle in the late stages of the legion of boom. He was drafted in 2017 and started in 72 of 76 career games. After this rookie contract expired, Griffin was viewed as the top free-agent cornerback and signed a huge deal for almost $15 million per season with the Jaguars, a deal he could not live up to. A back injury limited him to only five games in 2022, and the Jaguars released him after two seasons.

Griffin can be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. His price tag was just too high for the Jaguars. He is only 27 and should have a few more years left before the inevitable decline.

Bryce Callahan

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Callahan is a slot cornerback, unlike the first three players on the list. Chandon Sullivan’s contract expired, and the Vikings must replace or re-sign him. He is still available. None of the cornerbacks on the roster have any slot experience besides Murphy, who is way too valuable to be stuck in the slot. For that reason, signing Callahan would be perfect. He is one of the league’s top inside CBs and is still relatively cheap because he is playing inside.

Callahan spent four seasons in Chicago, a couple in Denver, and 2022 with the Chargers. He is not getting any younger and is already 31, but the Vikings won’t find a better one-year solution for their vacant slot position. Guys at that position can usually be had in the range of $2-3 million.

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