The Vikings should have plenty of competition at the cornerback spot opposite Xavier Rhodes, even if the competition doesn't include a free agent who is producing a competition of his own.
As relayed over the weekend in an initial report from the Twitter account of Warpaint Illustrated, Scout.com's site covering the Kansas City Chiefs, the Vikings expressed an initial interest in cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was released by the Chiefs late last week. That report also included the Falcons and the Lions expressing an interest in Flowers. Now Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and Scout.com's Ravens site, has added the Ravens and six other teams expressing interest in Flowers.
It's likely just initial exploratory communication, but if the Vikings would end up signing Flowers, he would be the likely starter at right cornerback, with another free-agent acquisition, Captain Munnerlyn, working in the slot. Despite only a one-inch difference between Munnerlyn (5-foot-8) and Flowers (5-foot-9), there is a significant difference in their comfort level and strengths.
Munnerlyn is well-versed in covering slot receivers and working in traffic, while Flowers isn't as comfortable in that role, despite being asked to do that last year in his first season with Andy Reid as his head coach. Flowers finished with a career-high 68 tackles but a career-low one interception. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, but according to observers it wasn't his best season in his six with the Chiefs. He has 17 career interceptions, including a career-high five in 2009.
But even if Flowers opts to sign with an interested team other than Minnesota, the Vikings will have plenty of options at right cornerback come training camp.
Josh Robinson entered offseason workouts getting most of the work at right cornerback, but an injury has relegated him to being an observer from the sidelines while others get in their practice reps.
In Robinson's absence has been a combination of Munnerlyn and Derek Cox working on the outside in the base defense, with Munnerlyn moving inside in the nickel defense that features three cornerbacks. Like Flowers, Cox is an experienced cornerback with 56 career starts, 241 tackles and 13 interceptions in five seasons, four with the Jacksonville Jaguars and last year with the San Diego Chargers.
Marcus Sherels is also an option there, although, like Munnerlyn, Sherels would be considered undersized (5-foot-10) but with enough athleticism to make up for some of his lack of height. Sherels has simply been a roster survivor because of his punt return abilities and increasingly effective coverage skills the last year or two with the Vikings.
Still, Flowers is the most experienced and likely the most valued of the options on the outside.
A second-round pick in 2006, Flowers started 87 of the 88 games he played, recording 421 tackles and 17 interceptions – two of which he returned for touchdowns. In 2011, he signed a six-year, $50 million contract extension that was going to have the heavy lifting portion of the deal kicking in during the 2014 season.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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