4 Vikings players who need to realize their potential in 2021

(Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /
2 of 5
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Woods /

Xavier Woods – S

More than a few eyebrows raised when the Vikings signed Xavier Woods in free agency this year. The safety endured a difficult campaign with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and it looks like a feast or famine acquisition that could go either way for Minnesota.

Woods was like a lost sheep in Dallas’ secondary last season. But to be fair, he wasn’t the only Cowboys defender who vastly underachieved during a dismal campaign for the franchise.

The 2021 season represents a big opportunity for Woods to make a return to form. He looks set to replace Anthony Harris in the starting lineup and the former Louisiana Tech star also has the benefit of having one of the best in the business alongside him in Harrison Smith.

Little was expected of Woods when he entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2017. However, considering his level of production before last season, there is every chance that he could offer something in a position of need.

He’ll have rookie defensive back Cameron Bynum breathing down his neck for playing time, so the margin of error is slim at best where Woods is concerned.

That being said, if he realizes his potential and bounces back in a more structured environment than he ever experienced in Dallas, it might end up being a shrewd bit of business by the Vikings.