Clemson Football: Clock is ticking in Minn for Mackensie Alexander

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Mackensie Alexander
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Mackensie Alexander /

With their 1st pick in the 2018 NFL draft the Minnesota Vikings selected, corner back Mike Hughes of UCF. From a depth standpoint this doesn’t bode well for former Tiger, Mackensie Alexander.

Coming out of the Clemson football program, Alexander was viewed as one of the top corner back prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft class.

At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Alexander displayed decent length and a tenacity in man-to-man coverage. He was a two year starter at Clemson who helped lead one of the best defenses in the college football in 2015.

Early Struggles In the NFL

Through his first two seasons in the NFL, Alexander has not lived up to his 2nd round draft pick status. While I understand that it takes time to transition from college to the pros, Alexander has been relatively irrelevant in Minnesota.

He’s appeared in 27 games (0 as a starter), in which he’s only accounted for 15 total tackles, six passes defended and one interception.

You could make the argument that he still needs time to get acclimated to the NFL level of play. However, it does not appear the Vikings are of that same train of thought. Selecting Mike Hughes is indicative of that.

Vikings Secondary

Hughes was widely viewed as one of the top corner back prospects going into the draft. At 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, he’s an aggressive press corner with fluid hips and explosive play making ability. He brings Minnesota great value as a return man as well.

According to, after the draft, Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer was asked about Hughes’ selection and it’s significance to Alexander to which he responded:

"We’re just trying to get good football players in here and shake it out, and whoever ends up playing plays, I’m not married to anybody, so we just go out and try to get the best players on the field."

It’s important to note, Zimmer also went on to discuss the possibility of fielding a four corner back package, due to the influx of spread offenses in the NFL.

Next: Clemson among the top NFL factories over the past decade

With Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes manning either starting corner position, there is a whole to fill in the nickel. Alexander hasn’t been a reliable option thus far, but, Hughes may turn out to be. Either way, it’s safe to say Mackensie Alexander has work to do going into next season.