One of the most interesting acquisitions in free agency for the Minnesota Vikings was defensive back Derek Cox.
The reason for this interest is because Cox had previous success in the NFL, but saw himself struggle after achieving that success. It is a low risk situation for Minnesota. They have only invested $780,000 in Cox as part of a one year “prove it” type contract. One of the main reasons why the Vikings were able to pick him up so cheap is because of his struggles with the San Diego Chargers.
However, this pickup could prove to be a huge bargain for Minnesota if Derek Cox can play the way he did when he was a rookie in the league.
Here are Derek Cox’s stats his first four years in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars:
47 games played
- 45 games started
- 170 total tackles
- 12 interceptions
- 32 passes defended
- 1 fumble recovery
Cox found himself demoted to special teams duties with the Chargers after failing to impress them throughout the season. Here are his statistics for his one year with the San Diego Chargers:
- 16 games played
- 11 games started
- 34 tackles
- 1 interception
- 7 passes defended
Looking back his rookie year, Derek Cox played well enough to earn quite a few honors. He was named to the Athlon Sports All Rookie Team and Ourlads Scouting All-Rookie Team. As an NFL sophomore, he was an alternate for the for the 2010 Pro Bowl.
There is no doubting that Cox has the talent to succeed with the Vikings. He has a hard-nosed coach in Mike Zimmer to help push him and an aggressive pass rush to help him out. Cox spoke with ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling about this new chance to shine:
“I view it as a prime opportunity. That’s how you have to approach it every day. This is similar to some defenses I’ve played in before, which helps. It’s pretty much left, right; man, zone principles. I play a ton of press coverage. With my size, my arm length, it’s an advantage. It plays to my skill set.”
Derek Cox went on to explain some of the struggles he had in San Diego:
“Cornerbacks could travel across the ball, running with motion, and you’d be in a zone coverage. Turned you into a nickel back, you’d be in a base and run to other side in zone coverage, you’d turn into the nickel.”
New Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer sounds really excited about working with Derek Cox. Here’s what Zimmer had to say about him after OTAs:
“He is a smart guy. He’s got good size,” Zimmer said. “He’s catching on to the defense we’re trying to teach, and really, he’s been getting better every single day that we’ve had him.”
Minnesota may have to rely on Derek Cox this year. The Vikings have a lack of depth at cornerback this year, so he should get every opportunity to prove himself. The only question that remains is if he can actually return to Pro-Bowl type form and earn a regular spot in the defense.