Most point out quarterback, guard and defensive tackle as the Vikings’ primary positions of need. However, they have uncertainty at corner, as well. Yes, they have shutdown man, Xavier Rhodes, but they will need to make a decision on whether to sign Trae Waynes to a big extension in the next year. Mackensie Alexander is young with upside but still makes some rookie mistakes. And old man Terence Newman’s future is still up in the air. To help fill a potential void at the position, the Vikings could take a run at Giants’ corner Eli Apple.
Apple’s name is familiar for most fans, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. During the Giants 2-14 season, safety Landon Collins revealed he thought there were some “cancers” in the locker room. News eventually broke out that Apple was the aforementioned “cancer” and the Giants inactivated him during the home stretch of the season.
Having watched Apple since his collegiate days at Ohio State, it is obvious he is a very talented player. He was as close to shutdown as possible for a college cornerback. However, questions about maturity and his love for the game made for a bad combination in a big market like New York. When on the field, he has shown the ability to be a very good young corner. The ability is definitely there, but it may just be a situation where he needs to start fresh with a new squad. Enter the Vikings.
The Giants and new head coach Pat Shurmur need to make a decision on Apple. He has two years left on a very affordable rookie contract right now. The Giants could outright cut him this offseason, and end the Apple experiment. Or, they can look to see if there is a trade market for him. The Giants may feel like a team would be willing to take a chance on a young 22-year-old corner that has shown ability when on the field.
If the Giants do cut Apple, the Vikings should be a team interested. By all reports, the Vikings have a very strong locker room led by seasoned veterans. Guys like Rhodes and Newman could be great role models and show Apple how to conduct himself as a pro. Teams can never have too many talented young cornerbacks. One would assume Zimmer would love to have Rhodes, Waynes, Alexander and Apple at his disposal.
If the Giants decide to trade Apple, the Vikings should still be interested. A label like “cancer” can be tough to shake off and may ultimately sap the market for him. But the Vikings could dangle a fifth or sixth round pick and see if the Giants take the bait. They might be totally done with Apple and want him out immediately, giving the Vikings the chance to swoop in.
In this scenario, the Vikings would be able to see their three young corners battle it out in the next coming years and decide who they wish to extend. Rick Spielman and company have had a way of staying away from players who have had some red flags in the past. But Apple might be a player who is worth the risk. If there is an easy path to obtain Apple, the Vikings should jump on it immediately and make themselves a player.