One of the major issues concerning the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday will be at the cornerback position. Regular starter Chris Cook is out with a broken wrist, so it will be up to replacements to fill the void in the pass defense game.
There are two players who will see a significant increase in playing time: Josh Robinson and A.J. Jefferson.
Robinson is of course the Vikings’ third round pick from this year’s draft; while Jefferson (a third-year player), was signed after he was cut from the Arizona Cardinals over the summer.
By far this season Robinson has seen the most playing time, even starting in place of veteran corner Antoine Winfield, albeit for resting purposes, but he’s gotten the starting nod regardless.
I, like most, expect Robinson to get the start this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, however head coach Leslie Frazier is remaining silent on who exactly the starter will be:
“What time do we play ball – 3:00 Central (time)?” Frazier asked. “That’s probably when we’ll announce it.”
Most are assuming this is just his way of not tipping off the Seahawks to any of the team’s defensive plans, which is certainly not a bad a bad thing…
So who will step up and be a difference-maker for the Vikings?
I’ve got my money on Robinson. The rookie has really progressed well so far this season, playing even more of a role than the team anticipated he would. Going into the season he was pegged to play at the nickel position, but in addition to time there, he’s played on the outside as well, showing that he’s got No. 1 lock-down corner potential.
Winfield prefers to play on the inside against the slot, so it’s been a good fit with both he and Robinson on the field so far.
Jefferson figures to get a good amount of action as well Sunday, but he’ll likely stay primarily in the nickel position.
So while Robinson is probably the starter, both young guys will get a lot of playing time this week, and for the next several weeks to come. I won’t call this a ‘blessing in disguise’ situation with Cook out, but getting these young corners into the mix will benefit the franchise in the long run.
It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to the hostile environment that is the ’12th Man’ come Sunday.