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3rd CB Spot Still Up in the Air

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 25, 2009 – 5:45 pm

Heading into training camp, one position battle receiving a fair amount of attention was the 3rd CB/nickel back position. It’s a position battle with several dynamics and, according to Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, it’s a position battle still up in the air.

“It’s still a very competitive spot,” Frazier responded when asked about the nickel back position. “We have familiarity with Antoine Winfield because he’s done it before and had a lot of success. The fact that Benny (Sapp) has also played the nickel position gives us some leeway there. But we’re still trying to ascertain where Asher Allen and Karl Paymah are. The fact that Marcus McCauley wasn’t able to play this past week threw a wrench in things, so now we get him back to become part of the evaluation process. It’s still up in the air to a degree.”

As Frazier mentioned, the extra dynamic at play in the nickel back competition is that the veteran Winfield has shown he has the skill set to excel in that role.

“He has made a ton of plays in that nickel spot, a la Ronde Barber in Tampa,” Frazier explained when asked if he would consider moving Winfield inside to play the nickel. “Just because of how effective he is in the run and the pass and matching up against some of the other teams third wide receiver. Either way he has been so effective for us both outside and inside. So we can handle it either way.”

When Winfield is positioned as the nickel back (covering the slot receiver on the inside), it opens up a spot at an outside CB position. As a result, the winner of the 3rd CB position needs to show an ability to play both inside (as a possible nickel back) and outside (as a possible CB while Winfield plays the nickel).

“Ben Sapp is doing a good job for us,” Frazier said. “Asher Allen has come in and done a great job. We know Antoine Winfield can do it if he has to and Karl Paymah made some good plays the other day as a third corner. We’re still in the position where we’re evaluating and deciding who’s going to be that third corner. The way it’s going right now is great for us. They’re all playing so well that whoever wins that spot should make us better.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 4 Comments »


4 Responses to “3rd CB Spot Still Up in the Air”

  1. By PurplePeopleEater on Aug 25, 2009 | Reply

    If there’s a question as to which position Winfield will play, why not give him the choice? He’s likely to do better in the position that he chooses, simply because he’d enjoy it better. So long as there are good choices for either nickel or outside CB, whichever he doesn’t choose, this should make the decision for the #3 corner that much simpler.

  2. By Brownicus on Aug 25, 2009 | Reply

    If I had to guess who will win the job I’d put my money on Sapp, but a lot can still change in the next 2 weeks. My guess Winfield will play some nickel and outside, depending on the match ups.

  3. By TimR on Aug 26, 2009 | Reply

    I’d much rather prefer Winfield on their #1 in Nickel situations. Ur taking a chance on putting the 3rd corner on their best guy, why put Antoine on their slot?…But I would also put money on Benny Sapp to win that job as the 3rd corner. McCauley had a lot of promise but just has not lived up to it. He had a great junior year in college at Fresno State but then had a bad year as a senior. When the Vikes drafted him, they were taking a gamble with an early pick on him being potentially good. Corners are a dime a dozen, and he hasn’t worked out. I liked Charles Gordon, but they released him. I thought he played well last year when given the chance.

  4. By Whohymis on Aug 27, 2009 | Reply

    McCauley is having a good camp. Didn’t get much of a shot last year. WHy is everyone so keyed on Sapp. He can’t cover , he is always trailing his man. If Winfield moves inside. McCauley is you best corner on the outside. If he gets beat, the safety is always late coming over in the cover 2.

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