Former Vikings Veteran CB Bolts for AFC

Mackensie Alexander

Getty Former Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander signed with the Dolphins on August 15, 2022, per his agent.

Former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander is returning to his home state.

The 2016 second-round Clemson cornerback that was selected by the Vikings has signed with the Miami Dolphins, according to his agent, David Canter, who announced the signing on August 15.

Alexander, raised in south Florida, has played five of his six NFL seasons in Minnesota, coming back to the Vikings in 2021 on a one-year deal after playing one season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

His signing comes in the wake of Dolphins cornerback Trill Williams landing on the injured reserve list.

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Alexander Struggled With Vikings Secondary in 2021

Like most of the Vikings secondary, Alexander struggled last season.

Alexander posted a 41.0 Pro Football Focus defensive grade across 16 games, which ranks 132nd out of 133 cornerbacks that played a minimum of 234 snaps. Alexander allowed a 119.2 passer rating when targeted, a massive step backward compared to his passer rating allowed in his past three seasons — 82.1 in 2018, 84.3 in 2019 and 82.3 in 2020.

Alexander’s step backward was a symptom of the Vikings pass defense that allowed the fifth-most passing yards per game (252.2) in the league. The pass rush was not the same after losing Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen for the season, meanwhile, the secondary was exploitable.

Bashaud Breeland ranked 127th of 134 corners, posting a 47.2 PFF grade and a 111.3 passer rating allowed. Patrick Peterson enjoyed a relative renaissance, ranking 67th of 134 corners with a 63.0 PFF grade and allowing a passer rating of 89.0 when targeted — the first time he’s allowed under a 100 passer rating after his final two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

Cameron Dantzler had the most promising 2021 season despite being in Mike Zimmer’s dog house. He ranked 21st out of 134 cornerbacks, posting a 73.8 PFF grade and allowed a 70.3 passer rating when targeted.

PFF deemed Dantzler, a 2020 third-round pick, the Vikings’ secret superstar for his quiet rise over the past two seasons.

“Perennially in Mike Zimmer’s doghouse, Dantzler has been the best-performing Vikings cornerback in recent seasons and, given his youth, the one that would seem to have the most potential going forward,” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote. “Since entering the league, Dantzler has allowed an 82.5 passer rating into his coverage and surrendered 10.6 yards per catch, with each number improving in Year 2. He has been flagged for only one penalty and has eight pass breakups to go along with three picks across 771 coverage snaps.”

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Another Clemson CB Rising in Vikings Training Camp

While Alexander is moving on from his time in Minnesota, the Vikings have another second-round Clemson cornerback within their ranks.

Andrew Booth Jr., selected with the 42nd pick in the draft last April, has turned heads at training camp with his uber-competitive mentality.

In 11-on-11s on the first day of training camp on July 27, Booth slid underneath a pass from Cousins intended for Justin Jefferson that he returned with a fanfare from his new teammates on defense.

Peterson was impressed by Booth in his training camp debut, saying “He looked pretty good. He moved around really well. It looks like he’s healthy so we’ll see if he can continue to build on that. I like how instinctive he is. He’s very quick at the line of scrimmage. He’s going to be a problem here pretty soon,” per Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson.

Booth was a first-round prospect that slid to the second round due to injury concerns. However, he was given his first break from football throughout the spring and appears refreshed. He’ll have to adjust from his overtly physical style of coverage to adapt to NFL rules, but he’s already shown the innate grit that’s not coachable in the NFL.

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