Thursday, October 25, 2012

The best cornerbacks in Minnesota Viking history

With rules regarding the passing game changing through the years in the NFL, favoring offensive players to a great degree, the position of cornerback may have become the most difficult position to play in pro football. Cornerbacks have to cover wide receivers, who are often the best athletes on the field. They also have to be sure tacklers. The Vikings have had some good corners who were important parts of dominant defenses; here are the top eight in franchise history.

8) Wille Teal: A second round draft pick in 1980, Teal played in 80 games and started 61 in seven years with Minnesota. He intercepted 15 passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered 5 fumbles.

7) Earsell Mackbee: In five years with the Vikings in the late 1960's Mackbee played in 66 games, starting 56, including the team's dominant 1969 season. He picked off 15 passes, taking one back for a touchdown, and recovered 4 fumbles.

6) Audray McMillian: In five years with the team in the late '80's and early '90's, McMillian played in 79 games, starting 43, and was selected to one Pro Bowl. He intercepted 19 passes and returned three for scores.

5) Antoine Winfield: Selected to three Pro Bowls during his eight years with the Vikings, Winfield has played in 103 games through 2011, starting 100. Prior to the start of the 2012 season his numbers included 18 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns; 61 passes defensed; 6 QB sacks; 11 forced fumbles; and 8 fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for scores.

4) Nate Wright: A steady cornerback during the mid-1970's when the team led the league each year in many defensive categories, Wright played in 129 games in his 10 years with the team and ranks fifth in Viking history with 31 interceptions.

3) Ed Sharockman: A consistent defensive back on Minnesota's great defenses of the late '60's and early '70's, Sharockman played in 142 games, starting 121, during his 12 years with Minnesota. He ranks third with 40 interceptions, returning four for touchdowns, and also recovered 9 fumbles.

2) Carl Lee: Selected three times to the Pro Bowl, Lee played in 169 games, starting 144, during 11 seasons with the team. A key player at cornerback on Minnesota's great defenses in the late 1980's, he is the Vikings all-time leader in passes defensed with 128, recovered 6 fumbles, and is sixth with 29 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

1) Bobby Bryant: A playmaker at cornerback, Bryant was selected to two Pro Bowls in 13 seasons, playing in 161 games and starting 121. He is second in team history with 51 interceptions and second in passes defensed with 77. He also recovered 14 fumbles and scored four touchdowns, in addition to coming up with a number of big plays in playoff games during the 1970's.

source for statistics:

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