The second free agent PA is thinking about is Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner. This fifth-year stud burst onto the scene last year with a career-high five interceptions – one of which he returned for a touchdowns. Verner was groomed in Tennessee by Cortland Finnegan, who is still considered one of the toughest defensive backs in the NFL. He had four of his five interceptions in the first four weeks of last season. Why only one over the final 12 games? He wasn't getting tested nearly as often. Verner is widely considered the top free agent cornerback available. Let's learn more from PA...
ALTERRAUN VERNER is a CB for the Tennessee Titans, and after four years of play hopes he hits free agency. Verner had five picks last year and led the NFL with 23 PDs. He's a stud and could be the top offseason FA priority of the Vikings.
CHRIS COOK, too, is an UFA but might not be back with the team. We have a bevy of draft picks to use to bookend the talented XAVIER RHODES, but after spending a first-rounder last year on CB probably will not dedicate the eight spot to that position. Cook was in the right position a fair amount of the time but never closed deals, displayed sub-standard ball skills and four years into it still has zero INTs, FFs and FRs. He, also, has just two TFLs and while not as bad as the public thinks never, ever splashed.
The team probably will move on sans Cook, even though new HC MIKE ZIMMER did wonders with recovering projects like TERRENCE NEWMAN and ADAM JONES in Cincy. Given I cannot see Cook receiving a lucrative deal from another team there's a chance he'll return here but in no way should start. That's where Verner comes in.
I recently chatted with a NFL player who knows Alterraun very well and was told the guy is as good off the field as he is on it. He studies film intensely and is a very smart cat. He, also, would come here and help a Vikings defense that was historically bad last year. Verner will make a lot of guaranteed cash this offseason if permitted to hit FA, and if I were the Titans I'd attempt to find a way to Franchise Tag him and work out a long-term deal along the way.
Tennessee has major salary cap problems, which means Verner very well could hit FA in a month and change. Even though we need DL help to take pressure off the DBs Verner would help here immediately, and our pass coverage would be upgraded in a big way.
*Photo - Frederick Breedon (Getty Images)
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