Evaluating the Vikings 2020 offseason gambles at the bye
By Nik Edlund
Youth movement at cornerback
The Vikings had two first-round choices in the 2020 NFL Draft, and with one of those they chose cornerback Jeff Gladney from TCU. In the third round, they took another cornerback, this time it was Cameron Dantzler from Mississippi State. The Vikings used two of their first four picks on the position because they had an exodus of corners a month prior.
The Vikings knew they wouldn’t be able to pay Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander, and it was no shock they let Xavier Rhodes go after the horrible season and a half he had with the team. The thing that was surprising and what was the gamble was that the team didn’t bring in a single veteran. There were some veteran corners on the market that were had for cheap by other teams. Instead of signing one, the Vikings opted to go with Mike Hughes and Holton Hill as their veterans and planned to rely on Gladney and Dantzler to round out the depth and share nickel duty.
This youth movement was definitely a risk, as both Hughes and Hill lacked experience in addition to the rookies. Prior to the start of the season, Mike Zimmer brushed off the notion of these young corners struggling early in the season and said it wouldn’t be an issue with Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris playing safety behind them. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
These young corners have been a major liability this season and are a big reason why the team is 1-5 going into their bye. These guys look good one week and then look like they’ve never stepped on a football field the next. Their up and down coverage is killing the Vikings this season and the team will not improve until they level out their play and the defense quits giving up 40 points a game. The Vikings knew they were rolling the dice on this position heading into the season, and the gamble has come back and bit them in the ass.