Vikings free-agent focus: Cornerbacks

The Vikings need a cornerback and free agency is their first stop to adding one. The type of cornerback they want has shifted with a new defensive scheme, so we highlight three that could make a difference, knowing that two are already on their radar.

The cornerback crop could be drying up quickly.

Colts CB Vontae Davis, ranked No. 3 in the's positional listing, is expected to reach a deal with Indianapolis before hitting the free-agent market.

The No. 5 cornerback in the free agent rankings, Sam Shields, already found his money by re-signing with the Green Bay Packers before he hit the market, getting a lucrative four-year, $39 million contract with a $12.5 million signing bonus.

Brent Grimes, ranked No. 7, got his money, too. Grimes re-signed with the Miami Dolphins for four years and $32 million, including a $6 million signing bonus.

With numbers three, five and seven in the rankings not even making it to the start of free agency at 3 p.m. Central Tuesday, the competition for those left on the market could be fierce.

The No. 2 cornerback in the rankings is Aqib Talib. He is expected to hit the open market but he is asking for big money, likely at least in the range of four years and $32 million or more.


Antoine Winfield has been the standard-bearer for Vikings cornerbacks for some time, but his forte was being solid in coverage and spectacular in run support. The Vikings haven't an elite cover cornerback in a long time.

In Mike Zimmer's defense, they need cornerbacks that can turn and run and stay with speedy receivers. If they Vikings are going to be picking from among the top cornerbacks left when free agency opens, that will be a primary characteristic.


With Xavier Rhodes, Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels returning, the Vikings at least have a start on their depth chart. They also have Shaun Prater and Robert Steeples returning, but they will likely have to battle for a roster spot come training camp.

Chris Cook is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His future with the team is very much in doubt. More than likely, they will wait and test the top levels of free agency before considering committing much money to Cook, who has been kept off the field too often because of injuries and legal trouble.


Alterraun Verner: The Tennessee Titans are expected to have Verner hitting the open market and there will be plenty of competition. While the Vikings have expressed an interest in Verner, so have the Giants, Lions, Rams and Jets, according to media reports. Verner is expected to sign quickly once free agency opens, and perhaps the Vikings having Jerry Gray, who coached Verner in Tennessee, will help them woo him without even a visit. With seven interceptions and 138 tackles over the last two seasons, Verner has to be the Vikings' top choice if the price is right.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: In a strange moment of diminishing his free agent value, Rodgers-Cromartie said before the Super Bowl he would consider retirement if Denver won. They got trounced, so more recently he said he would accept a long-term deal if offered to him. So there are motivational factors to consider with a contract any team offers to him. That said, Zimmer hasn't shied away from projects with talent. On the field, DRC isn't a project, but you have to wonder how committed to the game he is.

Nolan Carroll: Like Verner, there is a reported interest expressed by the Vikings and familiarity. Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards was the linebackers coach last year with the Dolphins, where Carrol spent all four years of his NFL career to this point. Starting 12 of 16 games played, Carrol had three interceptions, 47 tackles and 11 passes defensed last year.


Alterraun Verner
Aqib Talib
Vontae Davis
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Captain Munnerlyn
Chris Harris
Tarell Brown
Charles Tillman
Nolan Carroll
Cortland Finnegan
Robert McClain
Corey Graham
Walter Thurmond
Brandon Browner
Trumaine McBride
Mike Jenkins
Chris Owens
Terrell Thomas
Champ Bailey
Josh Wilson
Rashean Mathis
Chris Cook
Tracy Porter
Drayton Florence
Will Blackmon
Jabari Greer
Derek Cox
Zack Bowman
Antoine Cason
Javier Arenas
Tony Carter
Phillip Adams
Aaron Berry
E.J. Biggers
Chimdi Chekwa
Marquice Cole
Perrish Cox
James Dockery
Dominique Franks
Brandon Ghee
Josh Gordy
Danny Gorrer
Quentin Jammer
Ellis Lankster
Elbert Mack
Richard Marshall
Bryan McCann
Sherrick McManis
Dunta Robinson
Aaron Ross
Asante Samuel
Isaiah Trufant
Cassius Vaughn
Corey Webster
Eric Wright
Antonio Cromartie
Brandon Smith

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

Viking Update Top Stories