5 best position battles for the 2023 Minnesota Vikings
By Nik Edlund
Cornerback is intriguing because there is competition at the top and also competition at the bottom of the depth chart. Byron Murphy is a surefire starter and it is unclear whether that will be inside in the slot or if he will play outside. For the sake of argument let's say he lines up inside, which leaves the two outside corner jobs up for grabs.
These two spots would come down to Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, and rookie Mekhi Blackmon. Jay Ward is the likely backup inside, so these three will battle for two spots. Booth and Evans don't have a ton more experience than the rookie, so it's going to come down to how quickly each picks up the defense, and how they execute in practice and in the preseason games.
In a perfect world, the Vikings likely would want the two second-year players to earn the starting gigs, with Blackmon rotating in early in the season and maybe taking over by the midpoint. However, he's a feisty corner who fits Flores' mold and could end up beating out one of these second-year players.
The bottom of the depth chart is also interesting. As stated above, Murphy, Booth, Evans, Blackmon, and Ward are all safe. The Vikings kept six corners last year and if they do the same, then there's one spot available.
This battle will come down to veteran free agent signings like Joejuan Williams, and John Reid, second-year players like Tay Gowan and Kalon Barnes, and undrafted rookies Jaylin Williams and CJ Coldon. It's a position that is truly up for grabs and at this point, it is anyone's guess who gets the job. Williams is the veteran with size and could be the favorite, but we won't have a better understanding until training camp gets rolling.