4 potential scapegoats if things go wrong for the Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Xavier Woods /

Xavier Woods – S

Xavier Woods looks set to fill the void by Anthony Harris, who departed in free agency as expected to sign for the Philadelphia Eagles. The safety didn’t enjoy the best of seasons with the Dallas Cowboys last time out, so this is a significant leap of faith that the former sixth-round pick can get back to the form of old.

Putting Woods next to Harrison Smith should help his cause enormously. The perennial Pro Bowler still has plenty left in the tank despite his advancing years, and if the free-agent signing lives up to his end of the bargain, things should improve dramatically where the Vikings are concerned next season.

What comes next will ultimately be down to Woods. He was a little naive in his decision-making in coverage in 2020 and any similar problems will come with some big ramifications for the player’s future in the NFL.

Fans aren’t going to get on Smith’s case if production dwindles at safety. He’s given absolutely everything to the organization and this season might just be his last in a Minnesota uniform when it’s all said and done.

Instead, they’ll probably direct their anger at Woods, who has no emotional connection to the organization as yet. He should be coming into the franchise with a big chip on his shoulder after being sent to the scrap heap. Using this in a positive fashion will be of critical importance.