8 keys to success for the Minnesota Vikings 2020 season

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Adam Thielen /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Mike Hughes – Minnesota Vikings /

All young cornerbacks need to be up to the task

This is a succinct contrast to the offensive line. What does that mean, you ask? The offensive line must be quite good for once instead of mediocre. The cornerback play just needs to be serviceable.

We saw in 2019 that the Vikings could propel themselves to the fifth-best defense (via points allowed) in the league with cornerback play that was next to atrocious, at least by Mike Zimmer’s standards. In 2019, Xaver Rhodes carried a passer-rating-against of 123.8. His teammate, corner Trae Waynes, checked in with at 107.9 in the same metric.

Unfortunately, these are lowly statistics. They’re not average or fledgling — they’re awful. The saving grace in the secondary was a dyad of safeties, Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. Both men shored up the defense frequently when Rhodes and Waynes underperformed.

Ergo, the young pass-defenders — Mike Hughes, Jeff Gladney, Holton Hill, Cameron Dantzler, Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, and Mark Fields — are not required to be worldbeaters. But they must be competent.