The Minnesota Vikings made two under-the-radar moves at cornerback in the last two weeks to potentially alter the top of their draft board.
Last Monday, they signed former Chicago Bears CB Zach Bowman to a one-year deal for the league minimum. Bowman has been a starter in the past, but Tim Jennings and D.J. Moore passed him on the depth chart in the last two years, leaving Bowman on the outside of the Bears secondary looking in. Bowman's non-guaranteed minimum deal means he'll have to earn his way onto the roster, but his special-teams prowess could help him in that mission.
And Thursday, the Vikings signed former Baltimore Ravens starting CB Chris Carr. Carr started every game for the Ravens in 2010, and signed a three-year, $14 million deal with them last summer before being cut this offseason. Carr would have been due $2.5 million, so the one-year deal the Vikings signed him to would presumably be for even less than that.
Add in that Chris Cook was acquitted of charges of felony domestic assault earlier in the offseason, and a position of terrible weakness at season's end is now at least potentially adequate.
LSU CB Morris Claiborne is the elite corner prospect in the 2012 draft, and without these moves, the Vikings might have felt compelled to take him over Matt Kalil (assuming they don't trade down), even though OT is also a major need and the former USC Trojan is a much rarer prospect, as offensive tackles of Kalil's talent are few and far between.
Minnesota GM Rick Spielman's big-money signing of tight end John Carlson was a bit puzzling, but this pair of minor cornerback deals will allow him to feel okay about targeting corner on the second or third day of the draft.