No area of the Vikings‘ roster is more rife with potential trouble than the secondary. There are several situations to keep an eye on as camp and the preseason unfold:
The Antoine Winfield Situation. There’s a possibility that Winfield is no longer capable of being an effective outside corner in the NFL. Flat-out downfield speed isn’t necessarily as important for corners in the Vikings’ system, but still, you like your outside guys to at least be able to hang with receivers and not get utterly torched. His future could be inside, where he played last season after his foot injury visibly slowed him.
The Cedric Griffin Situation. He starts camp on the PUP list. Asher Allen, Benny Sapp, Lito Sheppard and Chris Cook will all likely get looks at starting right corner. Griffin could be back for the start of the regular season.
The Chris Cook Situation. The draft pick is an intriguing talent. He’s big and strong and seems to fit in well with the Vikings’ style. He’s definitely one of the guys to keep a sharp eye on in camp, since there seems to be a wide-open competition for at least one of the starting corner spots. The Vikings keep saying they won’t make a safety out of him, but they could always change their minds.
The Safety Situation. The Vikings did nothing in free agency or the draft to upgrade their talent at this position, which is somewhat befuddling. Right now it looks like Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson will be the starters, but Jamarca Sanford could easily bump Johnson. Sanford appears to have some playmaking ability, which is more than I can say for the largely invisible Johnson. Williams has been one of the bigger dud signings of the Brad Childress era.
The Nickelback Situation. At least the Vikings have given themselves lots of options here. If I peer into my crystal ball, I see Winfield and Lito Sheppard starting at corner with Benny Sapp as your nickel man. But what about after Griffin comes back? Does Sheppard move to nickel? Is Winfield so over-the-hill that Sheppard and Griffin wind up starting with Antoine at nickel? The only thing I’m reasonably certain about? Asher Allen ain’t gonna get much playing time. Unless Sheppard flames out in camp and gets cut.