Vikings Lose Out on $76 Million Super Bowl Champion Cornerback

Brian Flores, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Defensive coordinator Brian Flores of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have already endured the loss of multiple elite-level players who were on their roster in 2023, and now the organization must cope with the reality that they will not land perhaps the best cornerback available this offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back L’Jarius Sneed never hit free agency, as his team applied the franchise tag to keep him under contract through 2024. However, it was common knowledge around the league that Sneed was available via a trade.

The Vikings were interested, though Minnesota’s hopes ended Friday, March 22 when the Tennessee Titans closed a deal with Kansas City to bring the cornerback to Nashville.

“Trade: Chiefs are finalizing a deal to send franchise CB L’Jarius [Sneed] to the Titans, per league sources,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via X. “Chiefs are expected to receive a 2025 3rd-round pick in addition to a 2024 7th-round pick [swap], while Sneed will sign a new contract. Trade is pending physical for Sneed.”

L’Jarius Sneed Would Have Fit Perfectly on Vikings’ Defense

Conflicting reports on Chiefs trading L'Jarius Sneed to Colts.

GettyFormer Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.

Sneed is a two-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Super Bowl participant after just four years in the league. He’s also one of the best zone cornerbacks in the NFL and just signed a contract to prove it, inking a four-year deal worth $76 million in Tennessee following the trade.

It is true that Sneed has never made an All-Pro team, or even a Pro Bowl, but he can’t be denied a spot among the league’s elite cornerbacks after all his team’s success combined with the murderer’s row of wide receivers against whom he matched up last season.

Beyond that, Sneed and Vikings’ defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who is returning for a second season in 2024, would have been a perfect match. Flores led the most blitz-happy defense in the NFL last season, incorporating unique zone coverage designs behind that pressure all year.

As such, the Vikings made a good amount of sense as a suitor for the 27-year-old Sneed. Dianna Russini of The Athletic confirmed that Minnesota was in the mix for a while, but didn’t display the same interest as the Titans, who ultimately landed the cornerback.

“Teams that poked around over the last few weeks on Sneed included the Vikings, Patriots and Colts,” Russini reported Saturday.

Vikings Should Try to Upgrade Cornerback Position This Offseason

GettyFormer Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.

With Sneed now out of the picture, the Vikings must turn back to free agency or potentially to the upcoming NFL draft in an attempt to bolster the secondary.

According to the team’s depth chart as listed by ESPN, the projected starting cornerbacks for Minnesota next season are Byron Murphy Jr. and Akayleb Evans. Murphy underperformed last season after signing a two-year deal with the Vikings in free agency, while Evans is a fourth-round pick heading into his third professional season.

Minnesota was 23rd out of 32 NFL teams against the pass in 2023, and the loss of edge rusher Danielle Hunter in free agency is likely to negatively impact the team’s ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. As such, adding quality defensive backs is essential. Unfortunately, Sneed is no longer an option.

Read More