With the release of Antoine Winfield on the first day of free agency, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves thin at cornerback. With the offensive talent elsewhere in the NFC North, the team simply can’t have enough capable players in the secondary. April’s draft is a definite possibility to address the need for a cornerback, but there are still some notable veterans available on the free agent market.
Mike Jenkins has spent his first five NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2009 when he had a career-high five interceptions, but he fell down the depth chart last season and started just two of the 13 games he played. Shoulder and back issues have limited him to 25 games over the last two seasons, and he has just one interception in that time. Trade rumors surrounded Jenkins prior to last season, but nothing came to fruition and he played out the final season of his contract in Dallas.
Jenkins lost his starting job largely due to no fault of his own, as the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr in free agency and traded up to get Morris Claiborne in the first round of last year’s draft. He did get some experience playing in the slot last season when Orlando Scandrick was sidelined, so theoretically that should enhance his value.
Since free agency opened the Oakland Raiders have reportedly showed interest in Jenkins, and it can be assumed other teams have some level of interest in a 28-year old cornerback with 48 NFL starts on his resume. Should the Vikings be among them?
Jenkins has said he wants an opportunity to start, and the Vikings can offer him that chance without question right now. He has also said he wants to sign a multi-year contract, which may be contributing to the tepid interest in him up to this point. It may only be a matter of time before Jenkins has to settle for a one-year deal to re-establish his value around the league, and at that point the Vikings should be in line to make him an offer.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.