Building a No. 1 defense: Vikings can never have enough corners

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Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer used an analogy to portray the high regard in which he holds the cornerback position just as he was set to introduce his newest corner, first-round pick Mike Hughes, the day after Hughes was drafted.

"A famous, old coach called me this morning and said that one of the reasons he likes me is because he understands that you can never have too many cornerbacks," Zimmer said on April 27. "There's a commercial on TV right now where the lady asks this guy how many guns he needs, and he says ‘Just one more.' That's how we feel about corners -- just one more. So as many times as we can find guys that can cover around here, the more we want."wholesale nfl jerseys free shipping

The NFL's No. 1 defense last season, Minnesota has prioritized its secondary, leading to selecting Hughes with the 30th pick in the draft. The former Central Florida standout is the fifth defensive back selected in the first or second round since Rick Spielman became general manager in 2012. Between cornerbacks Hughes, Trae Waynes (2015) and Xavier Rhodes (2013) and safety Harrison Smith (2012), the Vikings defensive backfield boasts four first-round draft picks (five total on the defensive side of the ball, including linebacker Anthony Barr). Minnesota also spent a second-round pick on cornerback Mackensie Alexander in 2016.244

The team that has loaded up the most at the position over the past seven years is Minnesota's heated NFC North rival. The Green Bay Packers drafted five cornerbacks in the first or second round since 2012, selecting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson back-to-back last month.

But right below the Packers are the Vikings, Falcons and Buccaneers, who have each drafted four cornerbacks since 2012.

The priority placed on selecting these players early varies across the league. Seattle has not drafted a cornerback with its first- or second-round pick, while Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Tennessee and Washington have each taken just one CB from these two rounds since nfl jerseys authentic

The rookie could even challenge Alexander for a role in the slot. Hughes already spent a part of the early offseason program learning to play inside, and should he win the nickel job, the Vikings not only have a player capable of grasping one of the most difficult positions in the secondary, they would have a potential answer in the immediate and long term: a cornerback capable of doing it all.

Still, the long-term health of the roster and whether the cost of prioritizing cornerbacks versus other more pressing areas outweighs the risk is what the Vikings will eventually be judged on -- by this season's end and by how Hughes' career pans out.

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