Grantland: Vikings secondary ready to become one of NFL's best


Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is known for secondary play. Everywhere he has coached, he has brought improvement to a team's secondary and it looks like he's doing it again with the Vikings.

The Vikings have spent three first0round picks on their secondary since 2012.

In 2012, they selected Harrison Smith at No. 29. In 2013, they went cornerback at No. 25 and selected Xavier Rhodes and again in 2015, the Vikings went to the well and selected cornerback Trae Waynes out of Michigan State with the 11th pick.

In addition to those moves, the Vikings have signed veteran corners in each of the last two seasons bringing over Captain Munnerlyn as a free agent from Carolina before the 2014 season and signed Terrence Newman from Cincinnati this year.

Is the Vikings secondary ready to emerge as one of the best in the NFL?

Grantland writer Robert Mays seems to think so – the website says the Vikings secondary could challenge Seattle as the NFL's best.

"Former first-round pick Xavier Rhodes is set to take a giant leap right into the class occupied by players like Desmond Trufant, Vonte Davis and Jimmy Smith. If all breaks the right way, Trae Waynes will be a reliable No. 2 corner by the end of the season.

The 11th overall pick has some work to do before he's there, but Minnesota's plan isn't hard to see: The Vikings know they have the pieces in place, and with the talent and depth they have in the front four, they were another high-quality cornerback away from having a top-level pass defense."

Even before Minnesota added Waynes early in the draft, there were signs the secondary was showing big improvement under Mike Zimmer. The Vikings improved from the 30th-ranked pass defense in the league in 2013, to 19th in Zimmer's first year in 2014.

They also intercepted 13 passes last season – equal to the number of passes Seattle's pass defense took away.

Additionally, Minnesota ranked 11th in points allowed and ranked ninth by recording 41 sacks last year.

Next Up

hospital, emergency room

Charges: Driver was going 71 mph in 25 mph zone before crash that killed teen

The vehicle went airborne and slammed into the wall, killing a teenage passenger.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis mayor reveals his plan for policing changes

Mayor Jacob Frey announced a slate of new policy proposals at an event in north Minneapolis Monday.

fawn rescue chisholm

2 newborn deer rescued from sinkhole on the Iron Range

Firefighters rescued the deer and returned them to their mom.

lake, water

Search is on for possible missing boater in Roseville

A vehicle and empty boat were found at McCarrons Lake.


Man sentenced for firing gun at sister's boyfriend during funeral

Shelby Gene Boswell was sentenced to 110 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

shakopee splash pad 1

Someone cut off the foot of a lion at the Shakopee splash pad

Officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information on who did it.

lake water

Man's body found near fishing boat in southeast Minnesota

The marsh he was found in is about 120 miles southeast of the Twin Cities.

road construction

Highway 12 between Orono and Independence closed for 4 months

Crews will be making safety improvements along the "Corridor of Death."

Nicholas Joseph Ammesmaki

Arrest warrant for 'armed and dangerous' suspect in Cloquet shootings

Anyone who knows of his whereabouts should call 911, police say.

Willians Astudillo

Twins pitchers decimated: 16 runs, 18 hits, 8 walks ... 4 strikeouts

The White Sox hammered the Twins 16-4 but Astudillo took the mound in the ninth.