Several cornerbacks and outside linebackers emerged as potential targets on Monday. The Vikings have reached out to at least four cornerbacks and two outside linebackers.
Some of the players who they are interested in are Philadelphia’s Bradley Fletcher, Green Bay’s Davon House and Dallas’ Sterling Moore. Another target that the Vikings seem to be pursuing more at this point in time is Pittsburgh’s Brice McCain.
ESPN 1500 reported that the Vikings are looking into bringing McCain in to work him out get a closer look at him later in the week. Last season McCain played in 14 games and recorded 25 tackles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions – returning one for a touchdown – and six passes defended.
Xavier Rhodes began to emerge as one of the NFL’s top young cornerback in 2014. However, the cornerback position opposite him was inconsistent throughout the year. Last offseason, the Vikings signed Captain Munnerlyn, who won the starting job over Josh Robinson. Munnerlyn said that 2014 was one of the worst seasons of his career and Robinson – who played the outside in nickel situations – improved a lot from his 2013 season but still struggled at times against bigger receivers. McCain is only 5-foot-9 and 187 pounds; Moore is 5-10, 202; Fletcher is 6-0, 200; House is 6-0, 195;
Head coach Mike Zimmer loves working with defensive backs, so you can be sure they will bring in some, whether it is through free agency or the draft. The Vikings are also still looking for a starting outside corner opposite Rhodes after it was discovered that Munnerlyn was brought in to be a nickel corner, not a starter. Fletcher is the only one of the aforementioned players of interest who started more than seven games last year.
The other position that the Vikings seemed to target during the negotiating period is outside linebacker. Their depth at that position was tested, as multiple players went down with injuries. They even had to have Audie Cole, who is primarily a middle linebacker, play as an outside linebacker in the final game of the regular season.
There were two players that the Vikings reportedly contacted and they were the Houston Texans’ Brooks Reed and the San Diego Chargers’ Andrew Gachkar. There have already been reports that Reed will be signing with the Atlanta Falcons, but nothing is certain yet.
Along with McCain, ESPN 1500 also reported that the Vikings will be looking to bring in Gachkar sometime in the next week to get a closer look at him. Last season, Gachkar played in 15 games, starting five, and recorded 49 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and one pass defended.
The Vikings aren’t likely to be shopping for a starting outside linebacker in free agency this offseason unless things go south in a hurry with a possible restructuring of Chad Greenway’s contract. Instead, it is more likely that they find linebackers they think can contribute as a serviceable backup and on special teams. Zimmer enjoys having the ability to shuffle players in and out in order to keep them fresh and take advantage of different players’ strengths.
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