Vikings Connected to Veteran CB in Rumor Mill

Also Worked Out
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One of the most fascinating Minnesota Vikings-themed debates early in the offseason involves the cornerback position.

Vikings Connected to Veteran CB in Rumor Mill

For about 10 games in 2023 — Weeks 4 through 14 — the Vikings’ defense hummed, so much so that it ranked No. 1 in the NFL per EPA/Play during those weeks. Then, though, Brian Flores’ unit unceremoniously died in a game at the Cincinnati Bengals and never recovered.

to Veteran CB
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And because the defense sputtered down the stretch of 2023, many of the team’s loyalists believe the cornerback spot is in need of repair. Well, Bleacher Report proposed a solution last weekend: the free-agent onboarding of veteran CB Ronald Darby.

Flores Flourish
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BR’s Alex Ballentine coined Darby an “overlooked” free agent and named the Vikings as a possible 2024 landing spot. He explained, “Ronald Darby seems to be flying under the radar despite a stellar 2023 season with the Baltimore Ravens. Darby was sixth in the league in passer rating allowed and had the lowest average target separation (0.9 yards) in the league. The reality is that Darby has been a solid starter for years. He’s had a few seasons hampered by injuries, but he’s only given up a passer rating of 100.0 or more once in the last six years.”

Minnesota doesn’t have a quantity problem at cornerback. These men are under contract for 2024 as of February 19th:

  • Byron Murphy
  • Mekhi Blackmon
  • Andrew Booth
  • Akayleb Evans
  • NaJee Thompson
  • Joejuan Williams
  • Jaylin Williams
  • A.J. Green III
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Still, many believe that the unit needs more juice, perhaps of the veteran variety like Darby. Ballentine added, “The veteran has elite speed and didn’t show signs of slowing down last season. If he stays healthy, he should outperform whatever contract he’s likely to receive based on his age and injury history. The Minnesota Vikings gave up a passer rating of 95.2 as a team last season and have a young secondary. An experienced vet like Darby would make a lot of sense for them. Their NFC North counterpart Detroit Lions should be interested, too. They should be looking to improve their secondary after competing for a Super Bowl berth last season.”

Minnesota ranked 32nd in the NFL per completion percentage allowed in 2023, a statistic in blatant need of repair. Between the eight existing CBs under contract, free agency in three weeks, and the 2024 NFL Draft, and maybe even Ballentine’s recommendation in Darby, the Vikings must rectify that metric if the defense is to improve.

Subtract Any
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ESPN’s Mel Kiper sent Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins to the Vikings via his first mock draft of the cycle in January. Minnesota owns the 11th overall pick in April’s draft.

Darby turned 30 last month and won’t break the bank via his next contract.

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).

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