Shaquill Griffin Is In for Vikings — but Who Else?

Agents the Vikings Can
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When the Minnesota Vikings embarked upon free agency this offseason, they had more than a few needs. The most prolific need was at quarterback, but that was handled rather unceremoniously. At cornerback, though, despite signing Shaq Griffin, Brian Flores is still searching for help.

Shaquill Griffin Is In for Vikings — but Who Else?

A season ago, Kevin O’Connell needed some serious help at the cornerback position. Veteran Patrick Peterson had taken his talents to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while Byron Murphy Jr. was brought in to stabilize the group, he was the elder statesman. There was some development in year one under Brian Flores, but plenty of uncertainty remains.

shaquill griffin
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At times, Akalyeb Evans and Andrew Booth Jr. looked like starting-caliber talents. At other points, they looked like dressing them on the 53-man roster at all would be a mistake. That can’t be a reality for what would represent the second or third option heading into the year, and finding some help at the position now must be a focal point.

With the Vikings having multiple first-round picks, they could continue their barrage of defensive additions. More than likely, though, the picks will be packaged to move up and grab a quarterback who can be a foundational piece for the franchise going forward. Rather than banking on a late-round pick to step up, securing another cornerback in free agency makes a good deal of sense.

Flores Flourish
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Minnesota did come to terms with former Texas cornerback Shaq Griffin, and he at least begins to help the room. His addition provides a veteran presence to work alongside Murphy Jr., and Flores can begin to build up the group behind them.

A couple of top free-agent options remain, and Minnesota would be wise to consider any number of them. Stephon Gilmore is certainly getting up there in age but did flash some vintage looks with the Dallas Cowboys. A more logical fit would seem to be Xavien Howard, who played under Flores while they spent time together in Miami. The release may cause some concern, but if there is a coach who would know how to utilize him, it’s the one who works for the Vikings. Former Houston Texan Steven Nelson could make sense as well.

Ultimately, cornerback is not a position where the available options are barren. The Vikings can still allow Mekhi Blackmon or one of the others in the room to step up, but having a tested duo at the top of the depth chart is something they should be searching for. Nothing has to stop them from utilizing a later pick on the position either, but expecting that player to step in ahead of anyone they currently employ would be an indictment of a more significant issue.

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There is still plenty of time to work through free-agent additions before the draft, and despite the frenzy that took place out of the gate, Minnesota would be wise to visit the well again. A cornerback addition is necessary, and the names of those that would fit are out there.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.