Make no mistake about it, the Minnesota Vikings secondary was horrendous in 2013. The team gave up an average of 287 passing yards a game and ranked 29th in pass defense. While there are a number of cornerbacks the Vikings could target during free agency, their choice should be Alterraun Verner.
Ever since the Tennessee Titans drafted him in 2010, Verner has quietly been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He isn’t necessarily big or fast, but Verner played near an elite level last season.
Verner had 49 tackles, five interceptions while allowing 39 receptions for 579 yards on 79 targets in 2013 and he made his first Pro Bowl. The Titans are projected to have just over $13 million in salary cap space this offseason. With the team already committing so much money to fellow cornerback Jason McCourty, it is highly unlikely the team re-signs Verner.
Verner’s 23 passes defended made him number one in the NFL in that category last season. Just imagine the impact he would have on the Vikings secondary in 2014. If the Vikings are willing to pay top dollar to acquire him, it would give the team a true shut-down corner that they haven’t had in a number of years.
Some experts have said Aqib Talib is the best corner in free agency, but Verner is just as good and he is three years younger. At just 25-years-old, you won’t have to worry about him being on the other side of 30 for five more seasons.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, asks his cornerbacks to play man coverage a majority of the time, and this is something that Verner has experience in. He can take away the offenses outside receiver, and allows the safeties to spy and play more of a centerfield type role and create turnovers.
When the Vikings cut Antoine Winfield last year, they expected to get younger and faster in the secondary. The problem is, the corners got burned a lot in the secondary and they struggled in 2013. In a division with receivers Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson, your secondary has to be better than 29th in the league. If the Vikings can sign Verner, at least half of their secondary issues are solved.