MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings continued to address their secondary on Friday by bringing back a familiar face.
Mackensie Alexander, who spent the first four seasons of his career in Minnesota after being drafted by the Vikings in 2016, has agreed to terms with his former team, according to a tweet from his agent, Neil Schwartz. Alexander is expected to sign a one-year deal worth the veterans minimum and an undisclosed signing bonus, according to league sources.
Alexander, 27, is the second addition the Vikings made to their secondary since the start of free agency. Fellow cornerback Patrick Peterson signed a one-year contract worth $10 million.
Alexander returns to Minnesota after one season in Cincinnati. A former second-round pick, he started in 10 of his 13 appearances while replacing outgoing free agent Darqueze Dennard as the team's slot cornerback in defensive packages that included at least five defensive backs during the 2020 season.
His lone interception last season came in the Bengals' first victory over the rival Steelers since 2015. However, despite a string of solid performances, Alexander didn't seem to mesh with the Bengals' coaching staff.
Alexander's advanced metrics were in the middle of the pack among others who primarily play slot cornerback. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Alexander had a 68.4 completion percentage when he was the nearest defender, which was 2% worse than expected. He also had a 45.6% coverage success rate, which was just under the league average for qualifying slot cornerbacks.
During his first stint in Minnesota, Alexander had 103 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions and 21 passes defended and started 10 of 55 games. Though he consistently lined up as an outside corner at Clemson, where he allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 29.6 percent of their passes but did not allow a touchdown, Alexander morphed into a slot corner in Minnesota and eventually replaced Terence Newman as the team's starting nickel corner in 2019.
The addition of Alexander provides the Vikings with flexibility in the secondary. Minnesota has used both Jeff Gladney and Mike Hughes at slot corner and could have a competition at the position along with Alexander. Peterson said earlier this week that "the plan" is for him to play at cornerback in Minnesota in spite of speculation over a potential move for the Pro Bowler to safety. The Vikings still have an opening to fill opposite Harrison Smith at free safety after Anthony Harris signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Alexander made headlines last August when he left Bengals camp to travel to Florida following the disappearance of his father while picking berries with a family friend. Alexander was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge, which was later dismissed, for allegedly hitting the family friend. His father was found alive.
ESPN's Ben Baby contributed to this report.