Saturday has already been a busy day for the Vikings as they continue reworking their roster after Friday’s final cuts. In the wee hours, the Arizona Republic reported that the Cardinals were set to send cornerback A.J. Jefferson to the Vikings in exchange for undisclosed draft picks. Jefferson tweeted a confirmation that he is indeed headed to Minnesota.
Former UFA Jefferson was a starter for a time last year in Arizona but struggled and was sent to the bench. In his three years overall, Jefferson has played 16 games, starting 7. This is enough to qualify him as one of the more experienced players in a Vikings secondary filled with rookies and second year men looking to prove themselves. One of the few veterans, Chris Carr, was among those cut Friday night.
The 25-year-old Jefferson is not only younger than Carr, he’s also bigger. Carr’s poor preseason performance likely convinced the Vikings he wasn’t physical enough to handle bigger outside receivers, and since they already have Antoine Winfield and Josh Robinson to work inside in the nickel, Carr’s lack of value quickly became evident. Jefferson will likely find himself playing the outside opposite Chris Cook with Winfield and Robinson sharing time inside. Jefferson also has potential value as a punt returner, which could mean Marcus Sherels’ days in purple are numbered.
With the waiver period beginning later on Saturday, look for the Vikings’ roster tweaking to continue. Offensive line, wide receiver and linebacker are all positions the Vikes might address with waiver claims.
Update: Kent Somers says the Vikings and Cardinals have exchanged 2013 draft picks as a part of the Jefferson trade. The pick going back to Arizona will be conditional upon Jefferson’s performance. Zack Bowman was waived to make room on the roster for the new cornerback.