Time is ticking for the Minnesota Vikings to make a move with its remaining salary cap space for the 2020 season.
The Vikings franchise has several items left on its to-do list, including extending running back Dalvin Cook’s contract and signing the rookie talent needed to rehaul the roster. The Cook deal will undoubtedly have an impact on which rookies the Vikings sign to training camp, but two Vikings reporters believe the team also needs to hit free agency.
Matthew Coller of the Purple Insider podcast had ESPN’s Vikings beat reporter Courtney Cronin on his show where the two discussed potential free-agent finds at cornerback — a position in dire straights after the Vikings released three starters during the offseason.
Coller and Cronin narrowed the field to a few names, including Cincinnati Bengals veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick played for two years with coach Mike Zimmer before he left for Minnesota and has continued to play in the defensive scheme Zimmer left behind in Cincinnati.
Here’s what Cronin had to say about Kirkpatrick’s prospects with the Vikings who are still weighing their options:
(Kirkpatrick) makes the most sense of anybody considering how long he played for Zim in Cincinnati.
I think you need to go veteran presence at nickel however you have to do it. I just don’t know if Mike Hughes is better served as an outside corner to start the season and opposite (Jeff Gladney). I think you can go a number of different ways there but cornerback has to be your priority with any remaining funds you have left.
The Vikings still have about $12.2 million in cap space but think about it they haven’t signed anyone from that draft class yet. They’re trying to figure out what’s going on with the pandemic and what’s going on in the preseason and training camp so keep an eye open for something like that to happen I would suggest in a few weeks.
Kirkpatrick was released in March after starting in 67 games over six seasons for the Bengals, who picked up former Vikings starting corners Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander in the offseason.
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Contributions Kirkpatrick Could Bring
Zimmer has generally yielded the nickel cornerback position to his most experienced players. Before Mackenzie Alexander took the slot, he was mentored by veteran Terence Newman. Before Newman, it was Captain Munnerlyn who eased into his adapted role as a slot corner.
The Vikings have since been trying to pick up the pieces and are projected to have Hughes in the slot to begin the season, according to Cronin. It’s all speculation at this point but Kirkpatrick’s veteran presence could surely ease the decision-making and tinkering of a new cornerbacks group.
July 28 marks the first day of training camp where most offseason decisions should reach their resolution. How long will the Vikings continue to window shop?
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