Cortland Finnegan to Vikings: Why Ex-Titans CB Would Look Good in Minnesota

Nick McAndrews@@NickMcAndrewsCorrespondent IIIMarch 7, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26: Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants runs the ball against Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Titans defeated the Giants 29 - 10. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Free agency starts in the NFL next Tuesday, and if the Minnesota Vikings want to get back to relevancy, they will make a run at former Tennessee Titans CB Cortland Finnegan.

Finnegan was drafted by the Titans in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and has since developed into one of the league's most talented and most physical cover-corners.

Finnegan became a free agent this offseason, and to the dismay of many Titans fans, the team chose to use their franchise tag on fellow Titans free agent safety Michael Griffin instead.

Finnegan said that his "ultimate goal" was to retire a Titan.

"But I can’t control that," Finnegan told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "They wanted to move on, honestly. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what else a guy could do career-wise and in the community.” (Via's Michael David Smith)

Though Finnegan has said that he understands that the NFL is a business, it seems that he took it personally when the Titans made little effort to keep him, even using their franchise tag on his teammate Michael Griffin.

Regardless of Tennessee's actions, Finnegan and his representatives believe he is worth a $10 Million price-tag, and they could be right.


What does this mean for the Vikings?

The Minnesota Vikings are in dire need of help in their secondary.

They were decimated by injuries in 2011, and the inconsistency of DBs Cedric Griffin, Asher Allen and Marcus Sherels did not go unnoticed.

CB Chris Cook's future with the team is uncertain at this point because of legal issues, but he is, hands-down, the best defensive back on the roster. If Cook is found not-guilty in his on-going trial this week, the pairing of him and Finnegan would give the Vikings a very formidable starting tandem.

Cook is listed at 6'2" and 212 lbs, and his big, physical style is very useful for the Vikings when covering big, explosive receivers like Dwayne Bowe and Calvin Johnson, Jr.

Finnegan is listed at 5'10" and 188 lbs, but has prototypical CB size and plays much bigger than his frame suggests.

His physical, bump-and-run style is a great fit for the Vikings' Tampa-two defensive scheme, which requires the safeties to become the last line of defense against the pass, with big, physical corners running with receivers underneath.

While some fans might want to see CB Antoine Winfield moved to safety, he becomes very useful in the slot as a tackler underneath. Regardless of whether or not a position change is made for Winfield, the pairing of Cook and Finnegan on the outside would take the Vikings secondary from being bottom-feeders to being potentially the top secondary in the division.


"I don't know about Finnegan, isn't he a dirty player?"

Finnegan is touted as being one of the league's dirtiest players by many fans, and he does everything he can to get under his opponent's skin, pestering them  all game. While some might call this cerebral strategy "dirty," you could make the argument that he is one of the smartest DBs in the game for doing so.

An example of Finnegan's strategy would be his 2010 fight with Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson that stemmed from his ability to get under Johnson's skin. Though Finnegan arguably hurt his team for fighting back, his fiery personality on the field would be a huge upgrade over the uninspired group of guys the Vikings currently field.

Off the field, Finnegan is a very mild-mannered person and participates a lot in his community—like he noted in his conversation with The Tennessean.


"Can the Vikings afford a guy like this?"

The Vikings currently have quite a bit of cap space to work with and likely won't try to re-sign many of their 16 free agents this offseason. With the potential cuts/contract-restructuring of CB Cedric Griffin, and guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, the Vikings could be sitting at about $23 Million under the cap, according to ESPN Twin Cities' Tom Pelissero.

If the Vikings make those cuts, they should have plenty of cap space to sign free agents like Finnegan, Ex-Saints guard Carl Nicks, Ex-Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, or whichever other name you want to throw out there.

If the Vikings can sign a few key free agents and have a successful draft, they could be a contender in the division again soon.


Thanks for reading.


Follow me on Twitter @McAndrewsSports


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