5 Minnesota Vikings newcomers who could surprise in 2021

(Photo by Joe Rondone/The Tallahassee Democrat via IMAGN images) Janarius Robinson
(Photo by Joe Rondone/The Tallahassee Democrat via IMAGN images) Janarius Robinson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Woods /

Xavier Woods – S

Anthony Harris’ departure was inevitable in free agency. From the Vikings’ point of view, what was important was finding someone who could come in and instantly fill the void left by the outgoing safety, who is now on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Vikings eventually decided that Xavier Woods was a gamble worth taking. Even though his production with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 left a lot to be desired.

Dubbed Xavier “lost in the” Woods by Skip Bayless of FOX Sports last season after going through some significant complications, the task awaiting him is a steep one in Minnesota. Any further regression could see his long-term prospects of being a valuable starter succumb to another body blow, which would also hinder the Vikings’ chances of making the necessary improvements within their secondary.

Putting Woods alongside perennial Pro Bowler Harrison Smith has to help. So there are far worse situations for the new arrival to be in.

Getting off to a good start was crucial. Thankfully for Woods and the Vikings, he made a lasting impression during the early offseason program, which is a solid foundation from which to build a potentially successful career in Minnesota.

Harris didn’t exactly set the bar too high on the franchise tag in 2020. But it’s hard to look at Woods’ time on the field last time out and not think a dramatic turnaround is needed.