It’s a Sweet New Defender for Vikings

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings cornerback room received some help after all.

It’s a Sweet New Defender for Vikings

Heading into free agency, Minnesota rostered eight corners, more than enough for a full depth chart. But to improve the quality, the Vikings reportedly signed Shaquill Griffin on Tuesday.

vikings
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Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweeted, “Breaking: Free agent CB Shaq Griffin is signing with the Vikings on a 1-year deal, up to $6M, sources tell Bleacher Report.”

It’s the latest in a Vikings free agency focused on defense but the first notable cornerback. Last week, Minnesota onboarded EDGE rushers Jonathan Greenard (Houston Texans) and Andrew Van Ginkel (Miami Dolphins), plus off-ball linebacker Blake Cashman (Texans). Now, the secondary gets some love.

Agents the Vikings Can
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Many fans wanted the Vikings to sign Griffin last offseason when it appeared the defense needed cornerback depth, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did not oblige. Fast forward a year, and the deal will apparently come together. Here’s Griffin’s NFL resume to date:

  • Seattle Seahawks (2017–2020)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2021–2022)
  • Houston Texans (2023)
  • Carolina Panthers (2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2024-present)

The 28-year-old joined the NFL as a member of the Seattle Seahawks in 2017 from the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft. Since then, he’s tabulated a Pro Bowl appearance, 366 total tackles, 64 passes defended, 7 interceptions, 3 QB hits, and 1 sack — in 89 career games, 79 of which he started.

Pro Bowl LB Could
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Here’s the tale of the tape from Pro Football Focus for Griffin:

  • 2017 = 65.3
  • 2018 = 54.7
  • 2019 = 77.0
  • 2020 = 64.1
  • 2021 = 72.0
  • 2022 = 61.8
  • 2023 = 67.0

And this is the purple team’s cornerback room as of March 19th:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Akayleb Evans
  • CB3: Mekhi Blackmon
  • CB4: Andrew Booth
  • CB5: Shaquill Griffin
  • CB6: NaJee Thompson
  • CB7: Jaylin Williams
  • CB8: Joejuan Williams
  • CB9: A.J. Green III

Unless Minnesota has splashy unforeseen plans involving the free-agent addition of Xavien Howard, for example, or drafting a rookie in April, this might just be it for the cornerback room in 2024. No matter what, Brian Flores’ cornerbacks need improvement, finishing the 2023 season ranked dead last in completion percentage allowed. Perhaps Griffin can be a part of the fix.

Flores Flourish
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Griffin ranks eighth leaguewide in tackles among cornerbacks in seven seasons as a pro. His brother Shaquem also played professional football before retiring in 2022.

Minnesota hired the aforementioned Flores 13 months ago after one season of Ed Donatell’s leadership. Flores improved the defense immediately, recasting his unit to the NFL’s 11th-best in 2023 from 24th in 2022 per DVOA. The relationship worked, and now Flores is on tap for Year No. 2 in Minnesota. Free agents like Griffin, Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Cashman feel destined to help.

Griffin produced a wonderful 72.4 passer-rating-against in 2023, a number that would’ve ranked him first on the Vikings’ 2023 roster among CBs.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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