Vikings Should Pull off Trade to Fix Key Spot

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has made a strong effort to sign new contributors to a defense bereft of talent. The arrivals of Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Blake Cashman are supposed to offset the departures of Danielle Hunter, Jordan Hicks, D.J. Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport. It’s also fair to assume that the new guys are superior fits in Brian Flores’ scheme.

Vikings Should Pull off Trade to Fix Key Spot

Vikings Should Pull off Trade to Fix Key Spot
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The Vikings have been struggling at the crucial cornerback position for years, and fans desire another star cornerback, the first since Xavier Rhodes half a decade ago. That guy could be found in the draft and slowly developed, or the Vikings could take the shortcut and just trade for one of the league’s top cover players.

L’Jarius Sneed from the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs is reportedly available for the highest bidder. The Chiefs couldn’t fit another highly-paid deal under the salary cap after re-signing defensive tackle Chris Jones and using the franchise tag on their top cornerback Sneed, intending to trade him away.

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Well, one team will benefit from that as he is a fantastic player. Sneed is available, according to reporter Ari Meirov: “With Chris Jones officially back in the fold, all eyes now turn to CB L’Jarius Sneed, who was franchise tagged and has permission to seek a trade. The belief is a 2nd-round pick could be the sweet spot for a trade.”

Spending a second-rounder and a costly contract on a veteran player might sound expensive, but Sneed is one of the premier CBs in the NFL. He has proven that he can shadow elite receivers in the league and come out victorious. A player like that has immense value in today’s pass-happy league.

One wrinkle is that the Vikings would lose the valuable second-rounder, but instead of a draft choice with the potential to be good, they would skip the risk of drafting a bust or even an average player and immediately earn the benefits.

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The salaries of top CBs are still relatively low compared to other positions of value. Only three players have average annual salaries north of $20 million, and eight earn more than $15 million per season. Just for comparison, 11 interior defensive linemen earn more than $20 million annually, and 19 are currently scheduled to make $15 million or more.

In this day and age of crazy salary numbers, paying Sneed elite cornerback money is still a solid value, considering how much a top CB can change the game by locking down the opponent’s best wideout. One of his many game-changing plays during the recent playoff run came in the AFC championship game when he forced a fumble versus Ravens receiver Zay Flowers right at the goal line.

The Vikings employ Byron Murphy, who was solid in his first season in Minnesota, but he could be even better if he were number two on the opposing side of the two-time Super Bowl champion. Sneed would be an immediate massive upgrade over Akayleb Evans.

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If the Vikings don’t move to acquire another starting-caliber cornerback, it is because they think one of Evans, Andrew Booth, or Mekhi Blackmon can make a jump in the 2024 campaign, which would be a risky approach.

Sneed just turned 27 and only missed out on the All-Pro teams because of a handful of votes. His arrival could transform Flores’ defensive unit into one of the league’s better ones, and the Vikings should strongly consider the deal.

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