NFL analyst has high expectations for Xavier Woods in Vikings defense

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Xavier Woods
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Xavier Woods /

Last year’s Minnesota Vikings defense left a lot to be desired. The team struggled to generate any kind of pass rush and couldn’t stop the run, leading to a ton of yardage and points being poured on them by opposing offenses.

Mike Zimmer isn’t about to see a repeat of that in 2021. The Vikings invested heavily in Minnesota’s defense, bringing in an All-Pro cornerback, a run-stuffing defensive tackle, and a familiar pass rusher along with a new defensive back from the Dallas Cowboys.

On the surface, a one-year deal for a safety worth $1.75M doesn’t seem like a game-changing investment. But when looking for someone to pair with Harrison Smith, the purple may have hit gold in Xavier Woods.

Gregg Rosenthal loves the new Vikings safety

Xavier Woods was part of a similarly disappointing defense last season in Dallas, but his change of scenery could be exactly what is needed to give his career a spark.’s Gregg Rosenthal recently talked about some of the major changes in the NFC North and made a point to talk about Woods.

"“Don’t be surprised if Xavier Woods turns into a surprise Pro Bowl candidate. Zimmer’s defense is a Candyland for smart safeties and Woods is an underrated player,” Rosenthal shared."

At 25 years old, Woods is still coming into his own in the NFL and could benefit from a great defensive coach like Zimmer and an experienced secondary including Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith to help him thrive in his new situation.

Woods should be able to slide in as the starter and replace the exiting Anthony Harris. Harris thrived in his role with Minnesota in previous but dropped off in 2020 before being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent.

What does the future hold for Woods?

A one-year deal provides Woods with an opportunity to cash in on a big contract if he can perform well this year. Teams should have large amounts of money available after the salary cap bounces back.

Rosenthal is no dummy when it comes to the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings knew what they were doing when they signed Xavier Woods and this move could pay massive dividends for not only the 2021 NFL season and it may lead to an exciting merging of talents for many years to come.