Last weekend while they and all other NFL teams were cutting 20-some players from their rosters to reach the NFL’s mandated 53-man roster limit, the Vikings were also scheming to add a player to their roster.
That player was A.J. Jefferson. The Vikings sent undisclosed draft pick compensation to the Arizona Cardinals last Friday in exchange for Jefferson, a 6-1, 190-pound CB. Jefferson signed with the Cardinals in April of 2010 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Fresno State and played in 18 games with 7 starts over 2 seasons.
Jefferson’s size makes him a good fit in the Vikings defensive scheme at an outside CB spot, and his addition adds depth to a position that has veterans Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield as starters and youngsters Brandon Burton, Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels providing depth. He has good speed and, when dialed in, has displayed the ability to be a starting-caliber NFL DB.
While not a household name in Minnesota, Jefferson is a player the Vikings liked enough that they felt compelled to trade for him. Why? Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier spoke on that issue Monday.
“He has the ability to cover man and also play some zone coverage, good press corner, but he can also play off,” Frazier detailed. “He’s a willing tackler, we like that part of his game.”
This past offseason, Frazier had commented on multiple occasions that the Vikings may play more man coverage than they have in the past. That’s a plan that sounds great in theory, but a team must have the appropriate personnel on-hand in order to execute the plan.
Frazier feels Jefferson could give the Vikings just that.
“We wanted a guy who could play some man coverage and he’s shown that he has the strength to do that,” Frazier said.
Frazier noted that Jefferson has kick return abilities as well.
“His speed, his athleticism, he’s a good kickoff return guy as well. He’s a long guy with his size, we liked that as well.
“It was about what guy could fit what we’re trying to get done on defense that would really help us have a chance to win on Sundays. We felt like A.J. gave us some things that we were looking for and that’s why he’s here.”
Tags: A.J. Jefferson
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