Xavier McKinney is Must-See TV… and a Must-Have for Mike Zimmer

Photo: AP

As we know, the Minnesota Vikings secondary will look a lot different this season. As uncertainty follows Anthony Harris around, and the rumblings of his trade possibilities resurface with the draft drawing closer, my attention turns to Xavier McKinney; a Swiss Army Knife defender out of the University of Alabama.

McKinney would give Mike Zimmer the type of player he has never had on his defense. McKinney brings a Honey Badger type of flexibility and would be a fantastic fit opposite Harrison Smith.

In fact, even if Harris stays, I think you take McKinney at 22 (if available) because of his flexibility. With Harris most likely walking ahead of the 2021 season, you’d already have your replacement going forward (with a year in the NFL under his belt).

After appearing in just 4 games his freshman year at Alabama, McKinney made a splash his Sophomore year, appearing in 15 games and registered 73 tackles, 2 INTs and 3 sacks. He was also named the MVP of The Orange Bowl. Last season, McKinney took yet another leap, exploding for 95 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 INTs. Those numbers are impressive but not as telling as his “Snaps per Position” (via Field Yates)

Those snaps by position are where the Swiss Army knife comparison comes into play. With that type of versatility and play making ability, Zimmer could take risks on that side of the ball that he couldn’t normally, even with a very young secondary, and defense in general. A guy like McKinney could be the next star on this Minnesota Vikings defense.

Since Coach Zimmer has been in Minnesota, he’s had an eye for guys who are willing and able to seek out contact and tackle. McKinney is a perfect fit, in that aspect. Here’s what thedraftnetwork.com has to say about him:

“Plays with an attitude. More consistent here in 2019 and smacked guys in the mouth all season long. He’ll attack the football as opportunities arise but his contact balance and confidence to run the feet and deliver jarring hits has produced effective kill shots on bigger ball carriers. Impressive space tackler.”


If I’m the Vikings. This guy is at the top of my draft board.

Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan

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