Vikings hosting electric kick returner/CB for pre-draft visit
By Jerry Trotta
The Minnesota Vikings spent their first two picks of the 2022 draft on defensive backs. Unfortunately, the sheer unknown surrounding those two players after year one opens up questions about a Vikings secondary that also lost veteran leader Patrick Peterson in free agency.
Lewis Cine missed most of the season after he suffered a compound fracture in is leg in Week 4. Even before the devastating injury, Cine was down in the safety pecking order and logged just two defensive snaps in the first three games of the year.
Taken 10 picks after Cine, Andrew Booth’s rookie campaign was hampered by injuries before he underwent season-ending knee surgery in November.
The Vikings added Byron Murphy in free agency and Harrison Smith returning on a one-year deal is significant, but Minnesota needs to add more reinforcements in the secondary if it wants to be taken seriously in the NFC.
They’ve already set pre-draft meetings with potential first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes out of Mississippi State and multiple other CBs.
You can add Jackson State’s Isaiah Bolden to the growing list.
Vikings set pre-draft visit with Jackson State CB Isaiah Bolden
Bolden is viewed as a Day 3 pick who can go anywhere between the third and sixth rounds. He tested well at his pro day with a 4.31 (!) 40-yard dash, which is impressive for a 6-foot-2, 203-pound defensive back. He also posted a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10-9 broad jump. Again, really solid numbers.
Bolden largely played in the slot at Jackson State, but he’s capable of lining up outside, and even played safety for the Tigers.
He didn’t tally an interception last season, but he compiled seven pass deflections, which isn’t a huge surprise given his 76-inch wingspan. That reach will allow Bolden to break up passes even when a receiver has a step on him.
Bolden can also double as a kick returner. At Jackson State, he led the nation averaging 36.9 yards (again, !) per return in 2021. He took two kickoffs to the house, but Deion Sanders withdrew him from that role ahead of the 2022 season so he could develop as a corner — improve his draft stock.
Bolden isn’t a plug-and-play CB, but he’d bring needed depth to a Vikings secondary that frankly needs more cornerbacks. At the very least, he can make an immediate impact in the return game and could even bring value as a special teams gunner should Kevin O’Connell and Matt Daniels choose that role for him.
With just over two weeks before the draft, Bolden is a name Vikings fans should keep in the back of their minds.