Mackensie Alexander's work ethic extends off the field

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards wasn’t worried that rookie Mackensie Alexander had to miss time during organized team activities because of the mental reps he took.

The Minnesota Vikings used their second-round draft pick in April on Mackensie Alexander. Cornerback was not a position of need for them, but when they saw that he was still on the board at No. 54 overall they couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.

Alexander has been working with the second-team defense so far during organized team activities and that is likely where he is going to stay through his rookie season, barring injuries. The Vikings are set with Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman and Captain Munnerlyn as their top three corners with last year’s first-round pick, Trae Waynes, already waiting in the wings. Still, that doesn’t stop the Vikings from seeing what they have in Alexander. 

The coaching staff has been moving Alexander all around the field, working him on the right and left side of the field, as well as in the slot as the nickel corner. They are hoping that by doing that they will be able to see where his skill sets are best suited in their defense.

“Our biggest deal is trying to see his skill set and see where we can match his skill set schematically in the way it is that we’re doing,” said defensive coordinator George Edwards. “He’s played in the nickel before some in college and just looking at the different things we do coverage-wise and the different things we ask the nickel to do, putting him in there and let him work inside and outside should hopefully pay dividends for him as we keep progressing down the road.”

The coaching staff is clearly impressed with Alexander’s work ethic on and off the field, and the time he is putting in this offseason is crucial to his development as a player. This time period is when he learns the ins and outs of the Vikings defense and what they are running schematically.  That is why it is unfortunate for him that he suffered a setback during the team’s second week of OTAs that kept him off the field on Wednesday. The coaching staff isn’t too worried about that, though. They understand that those things happen and that injuries are part of the game, but they are happy with the way he responded to it. He spent the entire practice on the hip of of Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray and the defensive coordinator knows that is going to pay off in the long run. 

“He’s paying attention to the details of it even though he couldn’t take reps,” Edwards said, “being able to come out here and take mental reps can be very valuable, especially to a young guy.

“You don’t like for anybody to have to miss any time, but those things happen and we realize that. He’s been a good worker since he’s been in here, understanding the different things we’ve asked him to do, sort of like he did last year.”

It may be a year or two before Alexander gets the opportunity to see the field as an everyday starter, but that isn’t stopping him from working hard. Even when he isn’t able to participate on the field, he is putting in the work on the sidelines, doing every mental rep possible to make sure he is ready to go whenever his name gets called. 


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