Breaking News: Vikings Poised to Land $90 Million Playmaker With Ties to Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings prioritized strengthening their defense in free agency, and they may add Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard to their roster to complete the picture.

With three years left on his five-year, $90 million deal extension, the Miami Dolphins dismissed Howard in February in order to stay under the 2024 salary ceiling. This marked the 30-year-old All-Pro cornerback’s first trip into free agency in his eight-year career.

According to Garrett Podell of CBS Sports, Howard would be best served by joining the Vikings. Howard has stated that he would be willing to negotiate a less expensive contract and rejoin defensive coordinator Brian Flores.


“In his first season in charge, defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ Minnesota Vikings unit demonstrated notable progress. They were 24th in the league in passing yards per game, but they still had trouble stopping the pass (234.5), and Flores’ clever use of smoke and mirrors was a major factor in their success. Written by Podell on March 22.

“In an effort to counter their deficiency in pass rush (32.1% QB pressures rate, 27th in NFL) without Pro Bowl edge rusher Danielle Hunter—who placed in the top 10 in the NFL in both pressures (80, 10th) and sacks (16.5, fifth)—Flores had Minnesota blitzing at a league-high rate of 50.7%,” Podell continued. Hunter has left, and Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard have taken his place. On the defensive end of the field, the Vikings could use some experience. Flores was Howard’s head coach for three seasons between 2019 and 2021. It would make sense for both parties to get back together in the Twin Cities.

Howard has a subtle relationship with Flores. From 2019 to 2021, Flores guided Howard as he advanced to receive his first All-Pro selection in 2020. In a season that resulted in three straight Pro Bowl selections, Howard led the league in interceptions with ten and allowed just a 51.2% completion percentage on targets.

The Vikings “poked around” at the possibility of signing Kansas City Chiefs star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, according to Diana Russini of The Athletic. This suggests the Vikings may still be looking to add a veteran cornerback like Howard.

Former Dolphins CB Xavien Howard Declares He’s Willing to Accept a Salary Drop
Howard discussed the possibility of joining the Houston Texans during an appearance on “The OGs Podcast” on March 19. He even stated he would accept a pay drop to play for a contender.

“I would like carrying that out. In particular, the crib at home,” Howard remarked. “I would like to join a team that will advance farther in the playoffs in exchange for a wage drop. I have my money and all that. “How much money do you really need?” is how direct I am.

With their quarterbacking woes, the Vikings might appear far from contending, but the Texans were in a similar situation prior to selecting C.J. Stroud in the previous season. The Vikings are about to have enough cap room to add elite free agents to compliment a quarterback on a rookie-level deal.

Following the draft, if Howard is impressed with Minnesota, the Vikings have a chance to contend and draw in the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

Fit With Vikings Xavien Howard’s grades indicate a notable decline in Howard’s play from the previous campaign, but some of that can be attributed to the way teams faced the Dolphins.

Teams accepted what was provided below Howard and Jalen Ramsey, instead of taking them on the outside.

In contrast, Howard surrendered the fewest yards per completion (10.7) since Pro Football Reference began monitoring advanced statistics in 2018. Howard saw the second-lowest yards per target (6.8).

Teams were unwilling to challenge Howard, as evidenced by his lone interception in 2023. Despite this, he managed an 81.3 passer rating allowed in spite of the dearth of opportunities he had to break up plays.

Although he hasn’t produced the big plays that characterized his best seasons, Howard is undoubtedly superior in coverage from snap to snap. He might be able to remove the Vikings’ best receivers and make the opposition reduce the field in half.

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