Don’t let the Minnesota Vikings’ struggles at cornerback distract you from the fact that things are teetering towards disaster at safety as well. Some might even argue the need is more dire at that position than it is at corner.
One thing is certain when breaking this Vikings team down defensively: The secondary is on thin ice, right now.
An injury here or there could mean a cold plunge to the watery depths below. So it’s imperative that first-year general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and his support staff knock it out of the park at the 2022 NFL draft.
Here are where things stand at safety.
- Harrison Smith
- Camryn Bynum
- Josh Metellus
- Myles Dorn
A bigger fuss hasn’t been made about the safety position because 33-year-old Harrison Smith is still playing at an elite level.
The longtime Viking earned his sixth Pro Bowl invite last season after posting a career-high 114 tackles, seven pass deflections and one interception. He also tied his career-high of three sacks.
What else can be said at this point? The man still has a feel for consistently being in the right place at the right time.
But things get downright scary further down the depth chart.
The team would love to bump Camryn Bynum as a starter, but there is no certainty the second-year defensive back is ready to make that sort of leap. Josh Metellus and Myles Dorn are being initially viewed as camp bodies or backups hidden behind the emergency glass.
If Bynum doesn’t pan out, or even worse, Smith gets hurt, the Vikings are in big, big trouble.
- Xavier Woods
Losing Xavier Woods in free agency could sting a bit more than expected, depending on what happens between now and the start of the season.
He was a legitimate ironman for the Vikings in a one-and-done year when he played 100 percent of the snaps. No defensive player in the entire league was on the field more than he was in 2021.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, he was lured away on a three-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. His absence means one of two things: Bynum must step up, or the Vikings need to consider drafting the future at safety.
In a perfect world, business will continue as usual with the Vikings leaning on the elite work of an aging Smith, while plugging Bynum in right next to him.
But the reality is the fact that Smith isn’t getting any younger, and the depth in the backfield is severely lacking. It’s time for the team to start looking towards the future at the position.
Maybe Bynum makes a significant enough second-year leap to be included in that future. It isn’t fair to completely close the door on his ability to contribute to the defense this early, but the Vikings also have to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
- Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
- Daxton Hill, Michigan
- Lewis Cine, Georgia
- Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
There have been plenty of fantasy mock drafts with Kyle Hamilton slipping on the draft board. Even Vikings Wire’s Tyler Forness touched on the topic with a possible trade-up scenario.
If that happens, the Vikings might put their need at cornerback on the backburner to snag a player who could end up being the best overall prospect in the entire draft.
Hamilton has all of the intangibles to be a star at the next level. He’s a safety in a linebacker’s body with the ability to blow up plays as a tackler, along with the footwork and speed to drop back and play in pass coverage as well.
However, it’s more realistic for the Vikings to get their man on day two or three with Hamilton likely going in the top 10.
- Running back
- Wide receiver
- Tight end
- Offensive line
- Defensive end
- Defensive tackle