Minnesota Vikings: Projecting starters for the 2021 season

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson /
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(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Smith /


  • CB: Patrick Peterson
  • CB: Cameron Dantzler
  • S: Harrison Smith
  • S: Xavier Woods

The addition of an All-Pro cornerback is definitely welcomed by a young group of players looking to establish themselves in the NFL. Patrick Peterson might not play up to his former potential, but his presence and skills should lend themselves nicely to Mike Zimmer’s defense.

Cameron Dantzler shined last year when given opportunities and should be the starter opposite Peterson. Dantzler took his rookie lumps and struggled at times with no help from the Vikings pass rush, but should be able to get more comfortable and find a groove in the 2021 defense.

Harrison Smith is the iron man of the Minnesota secondary. He is entering his tenth season with the purple and gold and continues to play at an extremely high level despite being on the wrong side of 30 years old. He will be key for the Vikings in keeping opposing offenses guessing.

Finally, the freshly acquired Xavier Woods should be paired with Harrison Smith to maximize experience and talent in the secondary. His instincts will allow him to make plays in the secondary and force opposing teams to be honest.

As previously stated in the linebackers, Minnesota will spend a lot of time with an extra defensive back on the field. For that, one linebacker will come off the field and the returning Mackensie Alexander should be inserted for nickel situations.