Vikings’ Mekhi Blackmon in Driver’s Seat for Starting Cornerback Position

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Mekhi Blackmon was drafted No. 102 overall in the third-round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Despite some inconsistencies his rookie year, Blackmon played relatively well for most of the season. Especially, the early and middle parts of the 2023 NFL season, before tailing off a bit toward the end due to key injuries to the Vikings’ defense.

Blackmon finished with some pretty decent Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades for a rookie too. His 71.8 overall PFF grade was actually the highest on the team from last year and ranked 32nd of 127 in the NFL. Not only that, Blackmon’s 90.3 tackling grade was the highest among all defensive rookie players in the NFL.

Blackmon’s 2023 PFF Grades:

  • Overall: 71.8
  • Run Defense: 63.9
  • Pass Rush: 60.0
  • Coverage: 71.8
  • Tackling: 90.3

Mekhi Blackmon the third-best Minnesota Vikings’ cornerback?

Although Blackmon shined at points last season, he did have mistakes at critical times in games. This of course, lead to the Minnesota Vikings continuing to add pieces to the cornerback room both via free agency (Shaq Griffin) and the draft (Khyree Jackson).

Despite the competition thus far this spring, Alec Lewis (The Athletic) recently noted that Blackmon is entering training camp as the “team’s third-best cornerback right now” and that he “participated with the starters all spring”.

Although Blackmon seems to be in the driver’s seat for a starting cornerback spot in the nickel base defense, a lot can change between now and week one of the NFL season. Especially, with the current number of roster spots allocated to the cornerback room.

A look at the Minnesota Vikings’ cornerback competition

There’s going to be a very aggressive training camp competition for that third starting cornerback position. There’s currently ten cornerbacks on the roster and approximately five or six of them will make the final 53-man roster.

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Outside of Shaq Griffin and Byron Murphy Jr., the cornerback depth chart is wide open. Andrew Booth Jr. seems like a long shot to make the roster now, while newly drafted cornerback Khyree Jackson seems poised for an opportunity to get snaps this season.

Akayleb Evans, Vikings’ 2022 fourth-round pick, seems to have been demoted once again from the starting cornerback rotation early in organized team activities.

Overall, the cornerback competition this season is going to be fierce and highly competitive. Blackmon may be in the driver’s spot right now for a starting position, but that could all change after a couple days at Minnesota Vikings’ training camp.

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