Defensive Backs (10)
- Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Mike Hughes, Kris Boyd (Cornerbacks)
- Harrison Smith, Derron Smith, Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse, Marcus Epps (Safeties)
Minnesota’s starting cornerbacks (Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander) were already wrapped up entering training camp. But things got murky when Mike Hughes wasn’t ready to go after his season-ending knee injury and Holton Hill was suspended twice by the NFL.
The battle royal that ensued for the final cornerback spots was uninspiring and at this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Vikings went outside the organization to acquire some short-term cornerback depth.
For now, Kris Boyd gets the nod thanks to his build as a prototypical Mike Zimmer cornerback. He still needs some work in his coverage, but that can be coached up. Even with Nate Meadors having the biggest splash play of the preseason (pick-six against New Orleans), Boyd just seems like he would be the better fit for the roster.
At safety, it was always going to be a battle for the final roster spot. Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse were all locked in and another battle waged on as Marcus Epps fought with Derron Smith.
In the end, both seem deserving of a roster spot, which could result in one playing primarily as a special teamer. It would seem far-fetched to carry five safeties, but Zimmer does love his defensive backs, so anything is possible.