The Vikings signed tryout cornerback Amari Henderson on Monday in a move that had been in the works for a while. The third corner signed by the team in the last week, Henderson brings Minnesota's roster to the maximum 90 players with several offseason practices remaining before training camp gets going in late July.
Henderson, a Wake Forest product, attended the Vikings' rookie minicamp from May 14-16 and clearly stood out to the coaching staff during that time. On the final day of minicamp, it was reported that the Vikings would be signing him and offensive tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk.
But sadly, tragedy delayed Henderson's arrival in Minnesota. His older brother died in a car accident one day prior to the start of minicamp, so after finding out he would be signed, he went to Charlotte for the funeral and the team gave him time to grieve and be with his family.
Three weeks later, it's official. Henderson is the newest member of the Vikings' roster, which is now full. They could still sign additional free agents, of course, but someone would then have to be waived to make room.
Henderson is joining a cornerback room that is a lot more loaded than it was a few weeks ago. Since the conclusion of rookie minicamp, the Vikings have signed Parry Nickerson, Tye Smith, and — most importantly — Bashaud Breeland. All of a sudden, they've got a top four that looks great on paper and some quality depth at the position as well. Here's a full look at Minnesota's CB room heading into camp:
- Patrick Peterson
- Cameron Dantzler
- Mackensie Alexander
- Bashaud Breeland
- Jeff Gladney*
- Harrison Hand
- Kris Boyd
- Tye Smith
- Parry Nickerson
- Dylan Mabin
- Amari Henderson
Henderson, because he's a rookie tryout guy, has to be considered a longshot to make the 53-man roster. But he'll get a chance to compete in the remaining OTAs, mandatory minicamp, and training camp just like everyone else. If he turns heads with his play, he could certainly earn a spot on the 16-man practice squad.
Henderson was actually a member of the 2020 draft class, but went undrafted and spent some time with the Jaguars last year. Here's what I wrote about him back after rookie minicamp, along with Dane Brugler's scouting report from his 2020 draft guide for The Athletic:
A four-year starter at Wake Forest, Henderson has a good frame at 6'1", 180, and has some ball skills to go with it. He intercepted seven passes in his college career, including four as a senior in 2019. More impressively, he had 48 passes defended during his time at Wake. Henderson spent time with the Jaguars last year but didn't make the team, and he has apparently added 10-15 pounds since that time.
Dane Brugler: "Henderson has terrific awareness from zone coverage and does a great job feeling routes around him, driving downhill or floating underneath throws. He has a natural feel for playmaking angles, but must improve the balance in his pedal and transition. Overall, Henderson is a gawky, finesse cornerback with unimpressive play strength, but his length, route recognition and ball skills will give him a fighting chance in training camp."
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