E Point Perfect

Potential Vikings CB1 Has a Plan for 2023


The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 13
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) after a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have five potential starting cornerbacks in the orbit of the current roster who could start in 2023.

Minnesota lost to the New York Giants last weekend, prematurely ending a 2022 season that had high hopes in November and December.

For starters, these men could possibly fill starting CB roles for Minnesota in 2023 (if the team did absolutely nothing via new roster additions):

  • Andrew Booth
  • Cameron Dantzler
  • Akayleb Evans
  • Patrick Peterson
  • Duke Shelley

Potential Vikings CB1 Has a Plan for 2023

And for Evans, a 4th-Round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, a plan is in place to avoid injuries, which derailed his once-promising maiden voyage. The 23-year-old suffered two concussions and ultimately missed seven games.

Potential Vikings CB1
Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans (DB11) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Evans told the Pioneer Press‘ Chris Tomasson about avoiding concussions in the future, “I’m going to work on building up trapezoid and neck muscles, and I’ve got a new helmet for next season. It has extra padding, so that should help a lot.”

“But even just working on tackling form, keeping my head out of it, that’s going to be huge for me,” Evans added.

Vikings Rookie Defensive Class Down to 1 Great Hope in 2022
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) tackles San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon (28) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

In glimpses, Evans was terrific in 2022, far outshining fellow rookie Andrew Booth, who — you guessed it — dealt with a litany of injuries. Evans orchestrated a coming-out party in Week 9 at the Washington Commanders, thrust into action in the nation’s capital and making the most of the moment with impactful pass break-ups.

All told as a rookie, the Missouri alumnus tallied 23 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 passes defended, and a forced fumble. Via areas of improvement, Evans fired up a 47.2 Pro Football Focus grade and 110.7 passer-rating-against. The latter two statistics sound more in line with what one would expect from a 4th-Round defender.

Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) runs with the ball against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) and cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

With the offseason plan on the books, Evans was also optimistic about his 2023 trajectory, telling Tomasson, “I feel like I have a bright future & you get only one brain so you got to protect it.”

It is unclear if Evans will find an inside track to start next September. While he outperformed Booth, the Vikings have ample draft capital wrapped up in Booth and hope he, foremost, blossoms into a bonafide QB1. Veteran Duke Shelley performed like a Pro Bowler in the season’s final 10 games, so the ex-Chicago Bears CB could reasonably start, too. Patrick Peterson is a free agent. And Cameron Dantzler is a ginormous question mark.

Ergo, the Vikings have a lot of “guys” at cornerback, and Evans is determined to make his on-the-field availability paramount in the next eight months.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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