This time around, the Vikings can’t be accused of negligence when it comes to slot cornerback.
More than four years ago, when they cut one of the game’s best in Antoine Winfield Jr., the Vikings assumed a speedy third-round pick in Josh Robinson could jump in there without any experience. It didn’t go well and the Vikings had the league’s worst defense in 2013.
A year before the latest veteran, Captain Munnerlyn, was set to walk, the Vikings spent yet another top pick on a cornerback to snag a falling Mackensie Alexander in the second round. Alexander covered receivers well in college, following some into the slot.
Now can the Vikings rely on the 23-year-old Alexander after a rookie season of on- and off-field growing pains?
The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling and I discussed about 25 minutes into the latest Access Vikings podcast, which can also be found on iTunes and Google Play.
Alexander took two steps forward and one step back last week in the preseason finale vs. the Dolphins. Sent on a blitz, Alexander showed quick reaction by getting his hands up to deflect a pass. Later in the second quarter, he fought off a block and stalled a screen with a shoe-string tackle. Alexander, in tight coverage on Jakeem Grant, also forced a third-down incompletion. But then he stuck his facemask in Grant’s, drawing a taunting penalty. Miami scored a touchdown on the next play.
“I don’t think it was very good,” Mike Zimmer said afterward. “We had a little discussion about it.”