Last week we started our “Roster Rundown” series by taking a look at the wide receivers. Today the series continues with a look at the guys who will guard the wide receivers during training camp – the cornerbacks.
The Vikings ranked 26th in total passing defense (yards allowed) and allowed the most passing TDs in 2011, causing the club to make significant additions and changes to the secondary. Before we get to the new players, though, keep in mind that the secondary will see an immediate boost with the return of Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook. They are the two best CBs on the Vikings roster, and together they played in just 11 games last year. Their return bolsters the Vikings pass defense and sets the stage for other CBs on the roster to fill in the voids.
There are two other returning veterans on the Vikings 2012 training camp roster. Marcus Sherels made last year’s roster as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota. Aside from carving out a role on the defense, Sherels increased his value by becoming the club’s part-time kickoff returner and full-time punt returner. Brandon Burton, a 5th-round pick from last year, will also return to the club for training camp. Burton played in 10 games with 1 start in 2011.
The Vikings used both the draft and free agency to add talent to the CB position. In free agency, the club signed Chris Carr and Zack Bowman to add a veteran presence to what is otherwise a young position group. Carr began his career as a special teams ace in Tennessee and then became a regular in the Baltimore Ravens defense. He’s the early leader to be the team’s third CB, but there is plenty of competition for that spot as well. Bowman has some position flexibility to him and trained at both CB and safety during his time with the Chicago Bears.
In the draft, the Vikings used a 3rd-round selection to beef up the CB position by selecting the speedy Josh Robinson. The fastest man at the Combine (clocked a 4.29 in the 40-yard dash), Robinson’s speed will help him recover from natural coverage miscues as a rookie, and his 5-10, 192-pound frame will allow him to battle receivers on the outside. If he performs well in training camp, Robinson could earn himself a significant role on the defense immediately.
Others who will come to Vikings training camp looking to compete for a roster spot include Bobby Felder, Corey Gatewood and Nick Taylor. Felder was a standout over the Vikings final two days of the offseason program, Taylor is a former basketball player from Florida International University who is looking to transfer his hoops skills to the gridiron, and Gatewood was signed by the Vikings late in the offseason program (on June 4).
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Bobby Felder, Brandon Burton, Chris Carr, Chris Cook, Corey Gatewood, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels, Nick Taylor, Roster Rundown, Zack Bowman
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For the second time in as many weeks, the Vikings have added a CB in free agency. Last week, the Vikings signed former Chicago Bears CB Zack Bowman, and this week they’ve signed former Ravens CB Chris Carr.
Carr will be entering his 8th season in 2012 and will turn 29 later this month. He was an undrafted free agent out of Boise State in 2005 and played for the Oakland Raiders through the 2007 season. Carr has also spent time with the Tennessee Titans (2008) and the Baltimore Ravens (2009-11). He played in just 9 games last year because of a back injury, but before that he was an important part of the Ravens defense and he’s been one of the NFL’s top special teams performers during his career as well.
The Vikings secondary is a group that needed upgrades this offseason, and the additions of Bowman and Carr will help toward that end. With Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield set to return in 2012, Bowman and Carr will lead the competition for another starting CB job in the Vikings secondary.
Tags: Chris Carr, Zack Bowman
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The Vikings have signed veteran free agent CB Zack Bowman and have re-signed LB Erin Henderson. Bowman figures to be in the Vikings CB rotation and will also be a key cog on special teams. Henderson will be the front-runner for a starting outside LB job.
Bowman joins the Vikings organization after spending the past 4 seasons with the Chicago Bears. The
Nebraska graduate has appeared in 46 games, making 16 starts during his career. The 2009 season marked Bowman’s best as he recorded a team-leading 6 INTs, 10 passes defensed and 67 total tackles. The 6 INTs tied for 4th in the NFL in 2009.
In his first season as a starter, Henderson finished 4th on the team with a career high 91 tackles. He also
set career highs with 1.5 sacks, 8 TFL, and 2 FF. A former rookie free agent out of Maryland, Henderson appeared in 15 games in 2011, starting 11.
Tags: Erin Henderson, Zack Bowman
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