Adding Xavier Woods Means the Vikings Are One Step Closer to Having a Complete Defense

Well, Slick Rick keeps doing his thing. The Vikings have signed Xavier Woods to be the starting safety alongside Harrison Smith. The reports are that Woods can make up to $2.25 million. It’s a one-year deal that only counts for $1.75 million on the cap, though.

The secondary has come a long way since free agency began. Adding Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander greatly improves the corners. Losing Anthony Harris is definitely discouraging, but Woods will provide a steady, veteran presence that helps the secondary. The Vikings, quite evidently, made it a priority to improve their defense. Part of the plan, though, must have been to be frugal at safety.

Now that they’ve brought in the 25-year-old Woods, Minnesota’s only real need on defense is defensive end. Danielle Hunter should be back; Stephen Weatherly and D.J. Wonnum provide some nice depth. That being said, the Vikings would benefit from one more rock-solid player at defensive end. Even without an addition, it won’t be surprising if the Vikings get back into elite territory with their defense.

Last year, Xavier Woods was a mid-tier safety in PFF‘s rankings, but the Vikings are hoping that he’ll thrive in Zimmer’s system. Last season’s grade was the worst of his career. In 2019, Woods was the 24th-ranked safety. It’s also worth noting that Woods has some impressive versatility. In 2020, Woods played 349 snaps at free safety, 382 in the box, 171 in the slot, and even 59 along the defensive line. This versatility will serve him well.

The Vikings have seven million left in salary cap space, but they have the capacity to free up more money with either a Harrison Smith or Danielle Hunter extension. Looking back, it’s kind of funny to see the various lists and articles that mentioned Minnesota wouldn’t be active in free agency. More than a week into free agency, Spielman has his Vikings in a considerably better spot than when they entered.

Indeed, the only major concern on the roster is offensive line. By the time this is all over, Slick Rick might even solve that riddle. Skol.

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