Vikings Linked to Former Seahawks’ Pro-Bowl Cornerback

Shaquill Griffin

Getty Cornerback Shaquill Griffin of the Jacksonville Jaguars puts on his gloves during warmups before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field on January 9, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings are going to look a lot different on defense next year, both in terms of scheme and personnel.

The Vikings fan base has been abuzz over the last couple of days, infused with a fresh energy and excitement after news broke on Monday, February 6, that the franchise had landed former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as its new defensive coordinator. Anticipation has also begun to build as questions and theories have arisen around changes in the secondary that will make the unit more equipped to run Flores’ preferred press-man coverage schemes.

On the same day the Vikings hired Flores, Alex Kay of Bleacher Report pitched the addition of talented cornerback Shaquill Griffin should he prove a cap casualty of the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason.

If Griffin does hit the open market, there should be at least a handful of clubs intrigued by the 2019 Pro Bowler.

While he has missed time in each of the last four seasons, he has been a consistently strong cover man when he is on the field. A third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Griffin quickly ascended to a starting job early in his career and may still have quite a few prime years left if he can stay healthy.

Griffin Offers Vikings Scheme-Smart Talent at Value if Cut by Jaguars

Griffin, Jenkins, Jaguars

GettyCornerback Shaquill Griffin and safety Rayshawn Jenkins of the Jacksonville Jaguars emerge from the tunnel before a game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on September 11, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Griffin’s talent level makes him a hard cut in Jacksonville, but the blow would be softened by the money the Jaguars could save.

The six-year pro will enter the final campaign of a three-year deal worth $40 million in 2023. Griffin carries a salary cap number more than $17.1 million with a dead cap hit of only $4 million, meaning he represents more than $13 million in potential savings for a Jaguars team that needs to shed more than $22.2 million ahead of next season to get back into the black financially.

Griffin has legitimate trade value, which means Jacksonville will probably shop him first. However, it makes sense for a division winner and 2023 playoff contender like the Jaguars to get off Griffin’s money, especially because they made their late regular season playoff push without his help, as Griffin battled a back injury last year that kept him out of all but five games.

While injuries have dogged Griffin throughout his NFL career, the 6-foot and 198-pound defensive back has played in at least 12 regular season contests every year he has been in the league, save for 2022.

Vikings Pass Defense in Desperate Need of Upgrades

Patrick Peterson

Getty ImagesCornerback Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after an interception during a game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

A healthy Griffin at value would be a welcome addition to the Vikings secondary, after the unit finished 31st against the pass last season.

Part of Minnesota’s issues in the defensive backfield boiled down to injuries, as the team has invested heavily in young players like safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., using its top two draft picks in 2022 to land the duo of defenders. Both were eventually lost for the season with injuries, however, as was rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans. Starting cornerback Cameron Dantzler Jr. also missed seven games down the stretch due to a variety of ailments, but particularly an ankle problem.

Patrick Peterson was the Vikings’ healthiest and most reliable cornerback throughout the year, though he is bound for free agency in March. Furthermore, Matthew Coller suggested that Peterson is likely out in Minnesota after the hiring of Flores.

“This probably means that Patrick Peterson is done in Minnesota,” Coller said on the February 6 edition of the Purple Insider podcast. “I just don’t know if he can play man over 17 games like he did in the past.”

A full reset could be coming not just to the Vikings secondary, but the defense as a whole. Because the franchise also needs to be cap conscious this offseason, moves that acquire talent such as Griffin at value will come at a premium.

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