As training camp progresses, the Minnesota Vikings are slowly but surely putting their depth chart together. Leading up to week one of the regular season, RantSports will bring you a preview of each position.
In this installment we take a look at the Cornerbacks:
Overview: It’s a unit with a couple familiar faces, but one mainly made up of new players. Coming off a poor, injury riddled season a year ago, the cornerbacks must improve their game for the team to win more games. New Vikings GM Rick Spielman made it an off-season priority to improve the unit, and on paper he’s done just that.
Projected Depth Chart:
1. Antoine Winfield: By far the most experienced player at CB, going into his 15th season as a pro. Winfield missed 11 games last season with a broken collar bone, but says he’s fully healed and ready to going in 2012. The extra time off may have been a good thing for the aging player, as the Vikings need him to return to his pro bowl form of 2010. Winfield is expected to play less this season, and move inside to cover the slot on a more frequent basis.
2. Chris Cook: Going into his third season as a pro, Cook has played just 12 games due to injury and legal issues. The Vikings gave him a second chance after he was found not guilty on charges of domestic abuse. Cook was the Vikings’ second round selection in 2010, and has the talent to be successful in the league, if he can stay on the field. To this point he hasn’t and if his third season is anything like his first two, you can bet it will be his last in Minnesota.
3. Chris Carr: A veteran, and former member of the famed Baltimore Ravens defense, Carr was one of the top signings for the Minnesota D this off-season. Now he’s not a top tier guy, but he brings much needed experience to this roster position. Like the projected starters, Carr also only played in 9 games in 2011, but had a good campaign in 2010, starting 16 games in Baltimore. At only 29 years of age, there should be plenty of gas left in the tank for Carr. He figures to get on the field a lot with Winfield playing fewer downs.
4. Josh Robinson: The third round pick, and fastest player in the draft, is going to see lots of action during his rookie season. He came out of college a year early, and was listed in the top ten cornerbacks on nearly every big board. Robinson has all the tools to be a starter in the NFL. How much he plays, will be contingent on how fast he picks up the pro game. Robinson is said to be a great young man, with the attitude of winner. Look for him in nickel situations and potentially in the return game.
Others in the Mix:
Zackary Bowman, Brandon Burton, Bobby Felder, Corey Gatewood, Reggie Jones, Marcus Sherels, Nicholas Taylor
As I said, on paper the cornerback situation looks much better for the Vikings compared to a season ago. But at this point, that’s all it is. The main questions are: How much does Winfield have left in the tank? Can Cook stay on the field and finally play to his potential? Will Chris Carr regain his 2010 form? Will Robinson turn out to be the draft day steal that some are calling him?
Why questions? Because that’s all the cornerback position is for the Minnesota Vikings.
I fully expect them to be improved, and to be a much more respectable unit this season. If the veteran players can stay on the field, and the young players can take the next step, there will be a lot more W’s on the board.
More position previews: