Defensive Priorities Established

The Vikings have prioritized their needs in free agency and the draft, and they see a golden opportunity at one of their need positions. Get the rankings and the names associated with the team's interests.

As receivers in the league are bigger and quicker today, matching up against these potential freaks of nature has become an increasingly difficult proposition. As is the case with numerous teams, the Vikings do not stand alone in the quest to find a defensive back that can mirror the best talent in sports today.

Some receivers in the game stand mightily over their counterparts on the field. Imagine the disadvantage for a cornerback who stands 5-foot-10 in coverage of a wide receiver whose is 6-3 and 225 pounds. This has become a common issue in the game today.

But, according to a team source within the Minnesota Vikings organization, size really isn't an issue for the team as it plans to land a cover cornerback this off-season.

"The wide receiver and tight end positions have evolved in today's game. Players have become bigger, stronger and quicker. With this change in physical ability, these players are being utilized differently," a team source said. "First thoughts are we need bigger, more physical players at the cornerback and safety positions. This may be true at the safety spots, but at cornerback, if you can cover, the size isn't truly a significant issue."

Yet, the perception throughout the league is to become bigger and more physical on the corners, an area the Vikings are surely considering as an option as the organization revamps its efforts heading into the off-season.

"We feel pretty good with some of the players we have in the defensive backfield. Now we are looking to solidify one of the cornerback positions, as well as add depth in the defensive backfield," the source continued. "Brian Williams played well for us at one cornerback spot. The other side was manned admirably by Denard Walker and Ken Irvin, but both guys really could provide us depth in the nickel and dime packages.

"The talent level at the cornerback position in free agency may be the greatest we have seen since the inception of free agency. For a team looking to improve their cover defense, as many as seven or eight players that could be available fit the cover-corner bill," the source said. "Rarely does an opportunity present itself where a team can land the talents of a player like Champ Bailey, Antoine Winfield, Charles Woodson, Chris McAlister, and the list goes on."

Improving the defense remains the priority for the Minnesota organization. The Vikings' front-office brain trust has pinpointed and categorized the defensive end, tackle and cornerback positions as "immediate needs" followed by depth at linebacker, wide receiver, and in the defensive backfield, from what we've been told by team representatives.

"For this team to take the next step, we have to become a more consistent defensive team. To achieve this, we'll need to improve the overall play of the defense, starting with the defensive line. A pass-rushing (defensive) end would be a key addition to the team, but a (defensive) tackle of high quality could open up some other options for us along the line," the source continued. "Get the right help on the defensive line and a true cover cornerback would be a major step in the right direction, which is the plan we will be undertaking in the free-agency signing period and the college player draft.

"Right now, I would say we will look to address both these key areas in free agency and enhance our depth and quality in the draft."

Never say never, but the Vikings organization is talking the talk — only time will tell if they walk the walk.



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