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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Not short on confidence, CB Mackensie Alexander eager to earn Vikings role

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — He compares himself to Darrelle Revis, or a bit more modestly to 2015 Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett.

New Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander, selected with the 54th-overall pick in Friday’s second round, doesn’t lack in confidence. The 22-year-old declared himself the best cornerback at the scouting combine, and he didn’t dwell on the fact he was the seventh cornerback taken.

“I’m past that. I move on quick,” Alexander told Twin Cities media on Friday. “At the cornerback position you have to be able to eliminate thoughts and just play ball.”

Alexander became coach Mike Zimmer’s first defender added in the 2016 draft class, marking the second consecutive draft the Vikings have gone cornerback with the first defensive selection. And even though he joins a room returning every snap taken last season, he’s eager to compete for a role.

That competition will likely be at slot cornerback, where Captain Munnerlyn has held down duties for the previous two seasons. Munnerlyn, 28, is entering the final year of his contract. He has been credited with four interceptions, eight pass deflections and a forced fumble in 33 games for the Vikings.

“We see him as a potential [nickel], and also with the ability to flex and play outside as well,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Friday night. “Love the way he played the game. He plays with smarts and savvy we’re looking for, and is a highly competitive kid. As [coach Mike Zimmer] says, you can never have enough corners.”

Alexander (5-10, 190) was initially interviewed by the Vikings at February’s scouting combine, before defensive backs coach Jerry Gray traveled to Clemson for a private workout. Alexander played two seasons for the Tigers after a redshirt freshman campaign, compiling 12 pass deflections in 27 games. The low numbers reportedly reflect opponents’ unwillingness to test him. Alexander earned first-team All-ACC and third-team All-American honors last fall.

Although he leaves college without a single interception.

“When teams go in with a game plan and they are scheduled to throw away from you, if that is a knock on me that is fine,” Alexander said.

Entering his third season as the Vikings head coach, Zimmer has often professed his desire for tall and long cornerbacks. “We’re not going to draft any 5-9 corners,” Zimmer said a year ago. The philosophy showed through in the selection of Waynes (6-0) with the 11th-overall pick that year. If Alexander scared away ACC quarterbacks, then he certainly can play bigger than his height indicates.

Spielman checked with Zimmer to see if Alexander’s 5-foot-10 stature ‘meets the minimum criteria.’

“He said he’s right at it,” Spielman said.

The post Not short on confidence, CB Mackensie Alexander eager to earn Vikings role appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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