COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Vikings made a gamble last spring when they decided to release veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield. The move was made in order to make a run at Mike Wallace, but when that fizzled, it revealed the much bigger gamble the team was making.
By releasing Winfield, the Vikings thought that a stable of young corners would be more productive than the aging veteran. Plan B always seemed to be bringing him back on a cheaper deal, but when the Seattle Seahawks swooped in and stole him away, they were caught off guard.
As a result, the Vikings made exactly one move to bolster their secondary over the next several months by drafting Xavier Rhodes with one of their first-round picks. Outside of that, the injury-plagued Chris Cook and speedy Josh Robinson would be heavily relied upon to shoulder the load.
Cook has been dealing with a groin injury that's kept him out of several games to start the season. However, there is no excuse for the horrible play that Robinson has produced in the Vikings' first five games.
The Vikings' pass defense has allowed the 11th most passing yards in the NFL and Robinson has been a big reason why. Quarterbacks have targeted Robinson more than any cornerback in the league this season, and roughly 90% of those targets have been completions.
When your starting cornerback is getting burned more than the human torch, it's time to start looking at other options.
The Vikings have a couple of solid ones on the roster, as Rhodes has seen his playing time increase in the last couple weeks and even Marcus Sherels has seen the field due to the ineffectiveness of A.J. Jefferson.
There's also the option of repeating Operation: Favre by sending a plane to Winfield's house and begging him to come out of retirement. That might not be a viable option since the Seahawks didn't see him as a fit and cut him just prior to the beginning of the regular season.
The cornerback position has turned into another mess on a roster full of them. While the quarterback battle royal gets most of the press, this situation has made any struggles there irrelevant as the pass defense can't hold water in a paper cup at the moment.
Leslie Frazier needs to do something to fix his defense, and benching Robinson is a great place to start.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Vikings follower that has seen triumph and heartbreak for the franchise over 27 seasons. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report and Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Minnesota Vikings
- Antoine Winfield
- Josh Robinson
- Seattle Seahawks