One of the most talked about position battles throughout the offseason and training camp was the nickel back spot. It was actually more of a 3rd CB spot because starting CB Antoine Winfield also takes on nickel back responsibilities from time-to-time. But the main idea was to find a 3rd corner .
In his 2nd year with the Vikings, 6-year veteran Benny Sapp won the job as the Vikings 3rd corner coming out of the preseason and Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier gave Sapp a positive review when asked about him during his Thursday press conference.
“That first season we got him, he kind of struggled with exactly what we wanted from him and how we wanted him to respond in certain situations,” Frazier explained. “But today Benny has really become the ideal nickel back. He’s done a great job for us both in coverage and he does a great job in run support. And he understands situations in games. He’s really come a long way.”
It’s important to have 3 solid and reliable CBs in the NFL because defenses are often forced to have all 3 on the field at once to cover receivers. For the Vikings, versatility is also a necessary trait for the 3rd corner because Frazier likes to mix Winfield into nickel roles as well, which means the Vikings 3rd corner might be playing outside while Winfield slides inside on occasion. In addition, with the Vikings pride themselves on being the #1 unit against the run, so Frazier also demands that his nickel back be a solid supporter in the run game.
“You’re trying to find a guy who has some versatility…the ability to be able to play in the slot, and cover people, usually the third best receiver on the team but sometime it’s the team’s top receiver,” Frazier said. “But also, for us, being able to tackle. He has to be a guy who can respond in run situations and be a part of our run fits as well.”
Tags: Benny Sapp, Leslie Frazier
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