A Minnesota Vikings Cornerback Battle is Brewing

Mekhi Blackmon, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Last season the Minnesota Vikings faced something of a revolving door at the cornerback position. Looking to provide a source of stability, Kevin O’Connell will have heightened expectations for the entire unit. Bryon Murphy Jr., Shaq Griffin, Mekhi Blackmon, and Akayleb Evans are going to the guys to beat for playing time. But, where does everyone shake out?

Although Brian Flores was able to get a more productive defense from the unit as a whole, opposing quarterbacks picked apart the secondary. The unit has been infused with new talent in the form of Khyree Jackson, Shaq Griffin, and Dwight McGlothern, but what players start on a weekly basis remains to be seen. Mekhi Blackmon and Akayleb Evans are the leaders in the clubhouse for the final starting spot, but one will have to earn it.

Mekhi Blackmon and Akayleb Evans battle for final Minnesota Vikings starting spot

It is virtually a lock that Byron Murphy Jr. and Shaq Griffin will start at the top two cornerback spots for the Minnesota Vikings this season. The final starting spot appears to be a battle between Mekhi Blackmon and Akayleb Evans. With mini camp coming to a close, The Athletic’s Alec Lewis had some observations on the situation.

Griffin on the outside; Murphy on the inside. If the Vikings have their way, that’s the plan. That is, if another cornerback can hold up on the outside. Evans is more apt to match up physically with imposing receivers, and Blackmon might have better anticipatory skills. Both took first-team snaps this spring.

Alec Lewis on the Vikings cornerback position for The Athletic

For now, the incumbents will get the first crack at making it work. Blackmon and Evans may be battling each other, but without pushing themselves further, both could be overtaken by one of the newcomers.

Related: Do the Vikings Have a New Starting Cornerback?

Could another Minnesota Vikings corner challenge for CB3?

When the Vikings drafted Khyree Jackson out of Oregon, he was seen as a strong value pick. The big bodied corner has an interesting story and has taken the path less traveled to get here. Already 24 years old, it is questionable how much development he still has in front of him, but a strong showing at the highest level could have him cracking the lineup relatively soon.

Dwight McGlothern has raised eyebrows as an undrafted rookie, and he could force his way into the picture as well. One man that appears to be on the outs is former second round pick Andrew Booth Jr. Given his cap hit and positioning on the depth chart, there is little incentive for Minnesota to keep giving him chances to make it work.

It’s always possible Jackson and McGlothern will usurp Evans and Blackmon on the outside, especially considering their size. I also would not sleep on Williams, who always seems to hold his own in practice, and Booth is in a similar situation to Cine with his cap hit.

Alec Lewis on the Vikings cornerback position for The Athletic

Related: Light Bulbs Just Aren’t Turning On for Lewis Cine or Andrew Booth Jr.

While the quarterback position is where all the eyeballs have been this offseason, how the cornerbacks hold up will go a long ways towards determining what level of competitiveness the Vikings defense can provide. Minnesota will need multiple players to show out in 2024 if they are going to beat offseason projections.

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