The 2 CB free agents to watch for the Vikings
Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller
Ed Donatell takes charge of the Minnesota Vikings defense, under new head coach Kevin O’Connell and assistant coach Mike Pettine.
The Vikings’ defense has plummeted over the past two seasons after ranking among the best in the NFL from 2014-2019 in defensive efficiency. On top of that, Mike Zimmer’s 2020 and 2021 defense crumbled at the worst of times:
So when O’Connell was hired – a man renowned for his offensive thinking first – there were concerns that the defense would remain mediocre or at least not be stressed as much as the Zimmer era. But the hirings of Donatell and Pettine ensure Vikings management still has defense on their brains.
But first, Minnesota needs to revamp its defensive staff. Several key defensemen signed one-year contracts last spring – Patrick Peterson, Sheldon Richardson, Xavier Woods, Nick Vigil, Everson Griffen – and not all of them will return in 2022. The Vikings need defensive starters and depth players .
This is especially the case at cornerback. For now, Cameron Dantzler is the only starting corner on the list, with Kris Boyd and Harrison Hand as reserve players. The Vikings need cornerbacks – that should be the slogan until the end of the NFL Draft.
Because Donatell is in charge of defense, two names in free agency should be at the forefront of your brain – Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller.
Both men played for the Denver Broncos last year – where Donatell was employed for three straight seasons – and both are free agents. Interestingly, they both played and were drafted by the Chicago Bears. Although it is somewhat unlikely both join the Vikings, bet money suggests that one will throw purple clothes in 2022.
Also, every man should be available at an affordable price. Callahan is 30 years old and generated a rating of 60.0 from Focus on professional football last season. He won’t command a giant contract based on that rank and age.
Fuller is also 30 – there are a lot of career similarities between these two – but his PFF the score was worse. He only scored a 47.2 rating, so Fuller should be available for pennies on the dollar.
Recently, Patrick Peterson said he would return to the Vikings, but that was after finding out his former secondary coach, Deshea Townsend, would be on O’Connell’s staff. The news was premature and Townsend joined the Jacksonville Jaguars. Peterson could still re-sign at Minnesota, but Townsend’s development at Jaguars makes the decision less certain.
Theoretically, if Peterson returned, the Vikings could feature Peterson, Dantzler, Callahan and/or Fuller — and any rookies drafted in April. This group wouldn’t rank near the top of the NFL, but they would be significantly better than Dantzler and “get it” as it is now.
Callahan and Fuller’s realism is derived from money. Minnesota will find ways to scrounge up cash for free agency in the coming weeks, but the piggy bank is barren at the moment. They probably can’t afford to inking a top corner like JC Jackson – unless they trade Kirk Cousins or Danielle Hunter.
Free agency begins March 14.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).