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Rising And Falling: Cornerbacks

Eight days into Vikings training camp much of the depth chart remains a mystery.  There are some clear cut observations to be made, however, as to which players have helped themselves and which players have hurt themselves (literally and figuratively) in camp so far.

RISERS

Young Corners

The Vikings will have plenty of tough choices to make when it is time to cut the roster size down.  Perhaps the most difficult choices will center around the cornerback position.  It is a classic case of young potential versus veteran experience.

You have Antoine Winfield who is having a solid camp and appears to still be the featured player in the Vikings secondary.  You also have Cedric Griffin who is champing at the bit to return from an ACL injury but has already been ruled out for the season opener.  You also have Lito Sheppard who has had his fair share of ups and downs over the last few years, but has been respectable, by all appearances so far in camp.

On the flip side, second year corner (and Vikings Gab favorite) Asher Allen has seemingly solidified a spot as the team’s nickel back.  He has been impressive in camp thus far and it seems he is getting a stronghold on the spot on the depth chart.  The big question for him is if he remains at #3 even after Cedric Griffin returns.

Rookie Chris Cook has also been impressive.  He has had several interceptions in camp and impressed spectators with his coverage skills and nose for the big play.

Also, undrafted rookie Marcus Sherels has been receiving plenty of work on special teams, especially on the punt return front.  On Friday he notched a pair of interceptions and while he may ultimately end up on the practice squad, he has made a case for himself to remain employed by the Vikings through the 2010 season at least.

FALLER

Benny Sapp

Benny Sapp received a two year contract extension from the Vikings and entered camp as Asher Allen’s main competition for the nickel role on the defense.  Over the last two years Sapp has been a decent contributor in a weak secondary, but he has never gotten over that hump and established himself as a “must have” guy.

Sapp has missed a lot of practice after getting overheated earlier in the week.  This has allowed Asher Allen to get the majority of the reps at the nickel spot and also given more chances for other younger corners to shine.

Right now, Sapp needs to get back on the field and make some great plays.  I might be reading too much into it here, but I sense that Sapp is already closer to the bubble than we thought he would be.


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