Three positions where Vikings cannot afford an injury

There are questions about the Vikings' depth at these positions.
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates his interception with safety Camryn Bynum (24) against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates his interception with safety Camryn Bynum (24) against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Vikings are officially on summer break before returning to Eagan, Minn., for the start of the team's training camp at the end of July. During the break is a prime opportunity to evaluate possible holes and weaknesses on the roster before the season officially gets underway.

Here is a look a three positions where the Vikings cannot afford an injury:

Cornerback

The team's cornerback room is one of the more boom or bust rooms on the entire roster. Beyond veterans Byron Murphy Jr. and newcomer Shaq Griffin, the Vikings are relying on development from a trio of young cornerbacks who were drafted in the past three years.

Griffin was brought in to better facilitate Murphy playing inside, where he is much more comfortable. That means that guys like Akayleb Evans, Mehki Blackmon and Andrew Booth Jr. will once again be called upon to handle outside cornerback duties this season.

Evans and Booth's development have been up-and-down over the past two seasons. Evans looked to have taken hold of CB2 duties, but was benched multiple times down the stretch last season. Booth's injury problems have followed him to the NFL. Blackmon showed flashes last year as a rookie, but it's still a little early to tell what the team has in the former third-round pick.

The Vikings added some depth at the position when they drafted Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson in the fourth round of this year's draft. Jackson was credited with three interceptions and eight pass breakups in the 38 pass attempts he faced last season for the Ducks.

Still, overall, there are just too many questions about the depth at cornerback for the team to suffer an injury here. Minnesota allowed the ninth-most passing yards last season. If something unfortunate happens to one of the top starters, that could be worse this season.

Interior defensive line

While we list interior defensive line here, it really should just read Harrison Phillips. The 28-year-old was a machine last year, playing 839 snaps, the most of his career.

While it wasn't his most successful season, he did anchor a defensive line that finished the season allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards in the league.

After Phillips, the Vikings are a bit sparse on the defensive front. The Vikings front office brought in veterans Jonah Williams and Jerry Tillery this offseason. Williams was a starter alongside future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald last year, registering 49 tackles — four for loss — and two sacks. Tillery is a former first-round pick who is on his third team since entering the league in 2019.

Beyond the veterans, the Vikings have a lot of developmental guys. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores will have to rotate heavily this season as he looks for guys to help out on the interior.

Wide receiver

Last season, the Vikings managed their way through Justin Jefferson's injury absence last year, but a similar situation this season could put them in quite the bind — especially early on.

Guys like K.J. Osborn and T.J. Hockenson stepped up while Jefferson was rehabbing his injury, but following Osborn's departure this offseason, the Vikings don't have a clear No. 3 receiver behind Jefferson and Jordan Addison. Meanwhile, the knee injury Hockenson suffered late last season could result in him starting the season on the injured list, which puts more pressure on the receiving corps.

Should Jefferson or Addison miss any time due to injury, whoever is playing quarterback for the Vikings could suddenly wind up with a limited arsenal of weapons on the outside.

Guys like Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield and Jalen Nailor are competing for that WR3 spot, but if they're thrust into the No. 2 receiver spot, that could be an issue for Minnesota.


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Jonathan Harrison

JONATHAN HARRISON