Top 12 Minnesota Vikings cornerback duos of all-time

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes /
1 of 8
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes of the Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes of the Minnesota Vikings /

The Minnesota Vikings are hoping for a lot from Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes in 2019. How does this duo compare to some of the team’s greatest cornerback combinations?

The Minnesota Vikings training camp opens later this month with some pretty high expectations for the upcoming season. Kirk Cousins returns with a full offseason under his belt, the offensive line should be improved and the Vikings have done a miraculous job of retaining their talent.

One position that is potentially an area of strength is the defensive backfield. With so much young talent at cornerback there were plenty of rumors earlier the Vikings were interested in trading cornerback Trae Waynes.

There are currently 10 players listed at cornerback on the Vikings’ roster, only the wide receiver group has more at 11. Behind starters Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, both first-round selections, there is a lot of young talent—another way to phrase may be inexperience.

Following Mackensie Alexander, a second-round draft pick from 2016 with three years in the NFL, no other cornerback has played more than one season in the NFL, and a couple are coming from the defunct AAF—if that counts as experience.

Waynes, a first-round draft pick in 2015, is finally coming into his own. Pro Football Focus lists him in the top five run-stopping corners. A full-time starter the last two seasons, Waynes has six interceptions the last three years and was second on the team with eight passes defended. Paired with Xavier Rhodes, these two have each started 30 games the last two seasons.

While the Minnesota Vikings have some depth at cornerback, they could find themselves shorthanded when the season opens. Their 2018 first-round pick, Mike Hughes looked good in his rookie season before suffering a knee injury that limited him to only six games. The timetable for his return to the field remains unclear.

Fellow rookie, undrafted free agent Holton Hill, who showed a lot of promise making three starts last season, will miss the first four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

With such a young group at cornerback, the Vikings need Rhodes and Waynes to lead this group for the team to make a deep run in the playoffs. With two seasons playing together, how does this dynamic duo compare to some of the best cornerback tandems in Minnesota Vikings’ history?

In order for a duo to be included among Minnesota’s best of all-time, the pair of corners had to play alongside each other for at least two seasons. Other criteria include games started, interceptions, fumble recoveries, and touchdowns scored.

Included was the approximate value assigned by Pro Football Reference—a single number assigned to assess a player’s performance.  All data, except the number of seasons, was normalized for the ranking. Half of the list played together for only two seasons and several corners made the list multiple times.

Here’s my look at the top 12 Vikings cornerback duos in franchise history.