George Iloka

Vikings To Sign George Iloka To The Practice Squad

The Vikings are set to sign George Iloka to their practice squad, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). From there, Iloka is likely to be flexed into the active roster, giving the Vikings some sorely needed support at the safety position.

[RELATED: Vikings, Kendricks Agree To Reworked Deal]

As it stands, the Vikings have Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith at safety with recent callup Nate Meadors serving as the only reserve for both players. That’s less than ideal, especially since Meadors is a converted cornerback. Iloka, on the other hand offers years of NFL experience, including three seasons under Mike Zimmer‘s tutelage.

Iloka hasn’t seen live action since his 2018 season with the Vikings. In that season, Iloka appeared in all 16 games while starting in three. He’s best known for his time with the Bengals, where he played for six years and served as a starter for five. During his run with the Bengals, the Boise State product registered nine interceptions and made 446 tackles.

In other Vikings news, the club has restructured the contract of Eric Kendricks to free up millions in cap space. With cooperation from the veteran linebacker, they were able to formally ink running back Dalvin Cook to his brand new five-year, $63MM extension.

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Vikings Expected To Sign S George Iloka

George Iloka met with the Vikings for a second time this year, working out Tuesday. That is expected to lead to a reunion.

The veteran safety is going through COVID-19 testing protocols and is expected to sign with the Vikings later this week, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

The Vikes were not especially interested in bringing Iloka back last week, due to his vested-veteran status mandating his salary become guaranteed at the season’s outset, Tomasson adds (on Twitter). With that no longer an issue, it appears Mike Zimmer will have a familiar face back in his secondary.

A former Bengals draftee who played for Zimmer in Cincinnati from 2012-13, Iloka last played in the NFL in 2018 with the Vikings. Although he played in 16 games with Minnesota that season, he was out of football in 2019. The Vikings previously met with Iloka in mid-August.

In Week 1, the Vikings carried just two pure safeties on their active roster — starters Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. They promoted Nate Meadors from their practice squad last week, however, and have converted him from cornerback to safety. Iloka, however, brings extensive experience at the position and has three seasons in Zimmer’s system. Iloka, 30, was a full-time Bengals starter from 2013-17.

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Vikings Host S George Iloka

Bengals 2012 draftees are resurfacing on NFL radars Friday. In addition to Dre Kirkpatrick booking a Cardinals visit, George Iloka also met with a familiar team.

The Vikings brought in the veteran safety for a visit, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Iloka played for Mike Zimmer for two seasons in Cincinnati (2012-13) and was a Viking in 2018. That marked Iloka’s most recent game action. He sat out the 2019 season.

Now 30, the former Bengals fifth-round pick follows Jahleel Addae in visiting the Vikings, who did not end up signing Addae. Iloka played in 16 games with the Vikings two years ago, starting three. Anthony Harris used 2018 as a breakout slate, becoming a full-time starter alongside Harrison Smith that year. An Iloka role in Minnesota this time around would certainly feature him as a backup to Smith and Harris. The Vikings lost Jayron Kearse in free agency and feature a much younger secondary than they have in recent years.

Iloka was a five-year Bengals starter, beginning that run with 16 starts under Zimmer in 2013. He made three starts for the Vikes in 2018. He has 79 starts’ worth of experience but has been out of the league since his previous one-year Vikings contract expired.

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Falcons To Meet With Iloka, McDonald

The Falcons will meet with George Iloka and T.J. McDonald for visits on Tuesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. One, or both players, could help solidify the Falcons’ secondary in the wake of Keanu Neal‘s season-ending Achilles tear.

Iloka, who spent 2018 with the Vikings, missed the Cowboys’ final cut. The Cowboys guaranteed the 29-year-old $210K before his release, so he walked away with some spending cash. Since entering the NFL as a Bengals fifth-rounder in 2012, Iloka has started in 79 games.

McDonald, meanwhile, spent the previous two seasons with the Dolphins. Being out of work is not ideal, but on the plus side, he’s no longer with the Dolphins.

The Colts, who will be without Malik Hooker for a while, will begin their safety search by meeting with Marcus Gilchrist.

Cowboys To Release S George Iloka

Connected to safeties for well over a year now, the Cowboys are set to again go with their Xavier WoodsJeff Heath tandem. The team will release George Iloka, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic (on Twitter).

The Cowboys signed Iloka earlier this offseason to compete with Heath, but the incumbent won the position battle. This will mark another late-summer exit for the former Bengals starter. Cincinnati cut Iloka in late August of last year, and the longtime first-stringer landed with Mike Zimmer in Minnesota.

Both the Vikings and Cowboys added Iloka on league-minimum deals. The Cowboys guaranteed the 29-year-old defender $210K. Iloka has started 79 games since being a 2012 Bengals fifth-rounder. Only three came last season with the Vikings. Iloka played 117 defensive snaps in 2018.

Dallas resisted the urge to trade for Earl Thomas in 2018 and to sign the Texas native this year, going with Iloka for depth purposes. This will be Heath’s third season as a full-time starter and Woods’ seconds. The Cowboys still have sixth-round safeties Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson, a rookie, on its roster going into Saturday’s cutdown day.

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NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Manning

For a minute there, the Eagles considered tagging quarterback Nick Foles. This week, owner Jeff Lurie confirmed what had been widely rumored – the tag was considered only to stop Foles from potentially leaving for the rival Giants or Redskins (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). However, when it became apparent to the Redskins that Foles would be leaving the conference altogether by signing with the Jaguars, the Eagles opted against the move.

Foles was beloved in Philadelphia, but holding on to him as Carson Wentz‘s backup would have been an expensive proposition. Instead, the Eagles allowed him to fly away while putting their limited cap space into other areas.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • As the Giants evaluate their future at the quarterback position, they have not ruled out the possibility that Eli Manning could be their QB in 2020, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. If the Giants do not draft a QB at No. 6 or No. 17 overall or trade for Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, this could be the most likely outcome. From there, the Giants would kick the can down the road into 2020, when they would (finally) select Manning’s heir.
  • The Cowboys‘ one-year deal with safety George Iloka is a minimum salary benefit contract that will count for just $735K against the cap, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll earn a $930K base salary with just $210K of that amount being guaranteed. The longtime Bengals starter is just the latest one-year addition in Dallas, joining fellow vets Randall Cobb, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, Cameron Fleming, Tavon Austin, and Jason Witten on deals that expire after the 2019 season.
  • The Redskins will move former Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers from tackle to guard, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. They don’t expect there to be much of a learning curve, however. “With his strength and his size and his ability to move I think it will be a natural easy fit,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “[When] we drafted Brandon I remember they came out in the same class and rated right next to each other. Ereck was more a tackle and Brandon projected more of a guard. Both are athletic big and can move. It will be an easy transition.”

Cowboys To Sign George Iloka

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent safety George Iloka, ESPN’s Todd Archer reports [Twitter link]. 

Expected to be in on the Earl Thomas sweepstakes, the Cowboys instead opted for the versatile Iloka, who is capable of playing both safety spots. Iloka marked the third safety to visit with the team this offseason, after Clayton Geathers, who rejoined the Colts, and former Chiefs All-Pro Eric Berry.

Archer mentions the Cowboys are concerned about their depth at the position, which Iloka’s ability to play both positions will greatly impact. It remains to be seen if Iloka will wrestle a starting spot away from either Jeff Heath or Xavier Woods. Iloka also caught the Cowboys’ attention this past offseason before he decided to sign with the Vikings after beginning his career with the Bengals.

A longtime starter in Cincinnati after being tabbed with a fifth-round pick in 2012, Iloka transitioned into a reserve role in 2018 with the Vikings, where he registered 16 tackles and a forced fumble. During his run with the Bengals, the Boise State product registered nine interceptions and made 446 tackles in six seasons.

One-year deals are the theme of the offseason for the Cowboys, who have now added Iloka to Randall Cobb, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, Cameron Fleming, Tavon Austin and Jason Witten among players who have taken a one-year offers.

Iloka continues the Cowboys recent fixation with Boise State products. He joins defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to play for the Broncos.

 

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George Iloka Unlikely To Return To Vikings

George Iloka has been relatively busy as a free agent, but it sounds like he won’t be returning to Minnesota. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minnesota reports (via Twitter) that while the two sides met at the combine, it’s unlikely the safety returns to the Vikings.

Iloka has met with the Cowboys and Raiders this offseason, with his ability to play both free and strong safety making him a commodity. David Moore of the Dallas Morning News writes that the 28-year-old ultimately left Dallas without a deal, and we can assume the same about his previous visit with Oakland.

Iloka was a starter for the bulk of his career with the Bengals, but played mostly in a reserve role for the Vikings last year. In 16 games (three starts), the defensive back compiled 16 tackles and one forced fumble. However, he’s only one year removed from an 80-tackle campaign.

Wolfson also notes that the Vikings have not extended an offer to free agent wideout Aldrick Robinson, and the team is looking for other options at receiver. Robinson finished last season with 17 receptions for 231 yards and five scores.

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Cowboys To Meet With George Iloka

George Iloka‘s free agent tour continues. After meeting with the Raiders on Wednesday, he’ll travel to visit the Cowboys on Friday, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). 

Iloka, who played for the Vikings last year, previously had a six-year run with the Bengals. Meanwhile, he’s the third safety to meet with the Cowboys since the start of free agency. Earlier, Dallas huddled up with Clayton Geathers (who has since re-signed with the Colts) and Eric Berry.

In the safety hierarchy, Iloka is closer to Geathers than Berry. He has nine interceptions for his career and 79 starts to his credit, but has never been named to a Pro Bowl. Still, Iloka could be a low-cost upgrade to a secondary that could use the extra support.

Iloka can play free or strong safety and wouldn’t be a costly addition for the Cowboys. Last summer, he settled for a one-year, minimum salary agreement with the Vikings and started in only three games, so it’s hard to see him commanding a significant pay bump.

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Raiders To Meet With George Iloka

The Raiders are hosting former Vikings safety George Iloka on a visit, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Former Giants safety Curtis Riley is also en route to Oakland, Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter) hears.

The Raiders already invested heavily in the secondary by signing safety Lamarcus Joyner to a four-year, $42MM deal, but they’re expected to deploy him mostly at nickel corner. That leaves a serious need at safety, and Iloka and/or Riley could help fill the gap.

Iloka, a former Bengal, has history with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, and that same connection led to a deal between the Raiders and linebacker Vontaze Burfict earlier this week. Iloka can play free or strong safety, which could be a big plus for the Raiders’ secondary. Iloka was a starter for the bulk of his career with the Bengals, but played mostly in a reserve role with the Vikings last year. In past years, however, Iloka looked the part of an elite safety.

Riley, 27 this summer, had a breakout campaign during his first season with the Giants. After appearing in eleven games with the Titans between 2016 and 2017, the defensive back started all 16 contests last year. Riley recorded 75 tackles, five passes defended, and four interceptions, though Pro Football Focus only ranked him 79th among 93 eligible safeties. Riley visited the Packers on Monday, but left Green Bay without a deal.

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