Dre Kirkpatrick – CB
Connection to Vikings: Mike Zimmer
For now, Minnesota is heading into the 2020 season with one of the least experienced group of cornerbacks in the NFL. Mike Hughes and Holton Hill are currently expected to be the Vikings’ top two corners this year and together, they have a combined nine starts in their pro careers.
Behind Hughes and Hill on the depth chart are guys like Kris Boyd, Jeff Gladney, and Cameron Dantzler. Each corner on Minnesota’s current roster is full of potential, but the inexperience of the group could end up preventing the team’s defense from being one of the best in the league in 2020.
The Vikings were in a similar situation back in 2015 and they ended up signing Terence Newman, who had spent multiple years working with current Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer. Even at the age of 37, Newman was able to start 16 games for the Vikings in 2015 and he was a big reason why the team’s defense allowed the NFL’s fifth-fewest points per game that year.
Dre Kirkpatrick is someone who could be the 2020 version of Newman for Minnesota. Kirkpatrick has been in the league for eight years and all of them were spent as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
During his first two seasons with the Bengals, Zimmer was his defensive coordinator. So the Vikings head coach is very familiar with the 30-year-old corner and what he could potentially add to his defense.
Kirkpatrick is coming off a 2019 season in which he only appeared in six games and when he actually was on the field, his performance was nothing to rave about. In 2018, however, Kirkpatrick started 13 games and his coverage was only able to haul in 50 percent of their targets.
If he’s not looking for an outrageous amount of money, it makes a lot of sense for Minnesota to at least bring him in and give him a shot to make the roster. If Kirkpatrick can come in and perform anything like Newman did in 2015, that would be a win for the Vikings.