The Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings should discuss a trade that involves sending a cornerback to the desert.
Although the Arizona Cardinals added Robert Alford and Tramaine Brock to pair with Patrick Peterson, they could stand to add more young talent to the grouping. The Minnesota Vikings may be a team they can nab one from.
Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer loves his talented cornerbacks, but he may have to part with one of his former first or second rounders due to cap constraints and roster build.
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, the Vikings will have just $2.2 million in cap space — barely enough to sign their first and second rounder. They will also have three former first-round cornerbacks in Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mike Hughes and a second-rounder in Mackensie Alexander.
To make that grouping even more talented, 2018 UDFA Holton Hill performed well in limited action during his rookie season and Duke Thomas comes from the AAF after impressing in the now-defunct league.
That depth coupled with their cap constraints should force the Vikings to do one obvious thing; trade a cornerback. Recent rumors circulating around Minnesota including possibly shopping Rhodes, Waynes, and Alexander indicate that they are doing just that.
The Arizona Cardinals should be one of the teams calling for either of the three.
Rhodes, a 2017 All-Pro, would lift their cornerback grouping to the upper echelon of all-time great cornerback pairings. But, his regression, age (28), and an annual cap hit of $14 million per year over the next four years, per Over The Cap, may scare off the Cardinals.
Rhodes’ outside cornerback mate Trae Waynes may be less costly to acquire. He’s just 26 years old and has the game to shadow top receivers. His 2020 free-agent status along with his $9 million 2019 cap hit, per Over The Cap, should keep the Vikings’ asking price affordable.
Alexander is the lesser known of the three but may be the most realistic option. At 25 years old, his game has room for improvement. In 2018, the Vikings moved Alexander over to the nickel full time and flourished. While he’s also a free agent in 2019, his low cap hit ($1.3 million, per Over The Cap), and success in the nickel may be just what the Cardinals.
All three would project as fits in the Arizona Cardinals defense, but it may be Alexander who would fit best. Vance Joseph will need a high-quality nickel cornerback for his 3-4 defense to succeed, Alexander can do just that.
However, remember that this is purely speculation. While the Vikings have made calls to part ways with a talented cornerback, it’s unknown if the Cardinals were one of the teams to pick up the phone. But, this should be a situation to watch come draft time as the Vikings will surely look to create ways to pay for their draft class.