EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. For the past several years, the Minnesota Vikings have entered seasons with a preferred set of cornerbacks they believed could help them negate the pass-happy offenses in the NFC North.
Inevitably, injuries hit and poor performance left the secondary among the biggest weak spots for Minnesota. The injuries became a yearly issue with players like Cedric Griffin, Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook lost for large chunks of seasons. Griffin and Winfield are gone, and the Vikings believe, again, they are entering a season with set of corners able to withstand the matchups in the division.
A big reason for optimism was the first-round draft selection of Xavier Rhodes, the tall corner from Florida State. At 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, Rhodes gives Minnesota another tall corner along with Chris Cook. Josh Robinson and A.J. Jefferson add depth, but Rhodes' talent has the Vikings thinking of versatility on defense.
"We'd like to be able to (play more man-to-man coverage) at times ...