Mackensie Alexander might be good enough to take the nickel corner position away from Captain Munnerlyn in year one.
The NFL world was a little bit surprised when the Vikings used their second-round pick on Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. And veteran corner Captain Munnerlyn you could say was more than a little bit surprised.
In fact, Munnerlyn seemed downright offended.
In a tweet posted just moments after Alexander was selected, Munnerlyn made it known that he has no intention of letting a rookie come in and take his job.
But why assume the Vikings drafted Alexander to push Munnerlyn? Well, there are several good reasons actually.
No. 1, Alexander is 5-10, possibly a little too short to consistently play outside cornerback in the NFL. And as a matter of fact the Vikings have confirmed they’ll work Alexander against the slot (per Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
No. 2, Alexander is known for his ability to stick to receivers like glue. Captain Munnerlyn for all his merits is not known as a guy who locks down on receivers.
No. 3, despite his size, Alexander has shown the ability at times to mix it up with taller, bigger receivers. That puts him at less of a disadvantage if teams line up bigger men at the slot in an attempt to create a mismatch.
No. 4, Munnerlyn is going into the last year of his contract and it might not be a terrible idea to throw Alexander in there in camp and see if he can’t push Munnerlyn out a year early. Then you save a little money by cutting Munnerlyn, and you get a leg-up on preparing Alexander to be your nickel corner for years to come.
I suppose if Alexander looked ready to go you could always keep Munnerlyn as a somewhat over-priced fourth corner but do you really want a disgruntled Captain Munnerlyn tromping around Winter Park?
Not that I’m trying to run Captain Munnerlyn out of town, mind you. I actually thought he played pretty well last year and I’m fine with him continuing to man the nickel cornerback position. However, Alexander looks like he has some skills and even though Mike Zimmer has shown a tendency to make his young corners sit and learn in year one, it wouldn’t shock me at all if Alexander quickly convinces Zimmer and Rick Spielman that Captain Munnerlyn has become expendable.