Everson Griffen‘s reunion with the Vikings has already come to an end. The veteran defensive end was among the team’s cuts today.
Griffen spent his entire career with the Vikings up until 2020. Splitting time between the Cowboys and Lions, Griffen finished out with six sacks in total. Meanwhile, no Vikings edge rusher finished with more than five. His ten-year run with the Vikes saw four Pro Bowl appearances and 74.5 total sacks.
Running back Ameer Abdullah was among the other players to earn their walking papers today. The veteran spent the past two-plus seasons with the Vikings, collecting 313 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 55 carries.
The Vikings made the following moves to get down to 53 players:
The Vikings have taken a different path at quarterback this year, slotting inexperienced passers behind starter Kirk Cousins. Third-round rookie Kellen Mondand practice squad veteran Jake Browningare competing to be Minnesota’s backup. Thus far, the results have not impressed.
While Minnesota also has 2020 seventh-round pick Nate Stanley and well-traveled former UDFA Danny Etlingon the roster, Mond and Browning appear to be vying for the gig. Following the team’s second preseason game, Mike Zimmer described his QB2 situation as a work in progress said the team will discuss bringing in an outside option this week, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson.
Mond, who missed time due to a COVID-19 contraction earlier in camp, has not progressed to the point he can be relied upon as a backup, per Tomasson. Browning, Stanley and Etling have also not taken any NFL regular-season snaps. Browning has spent the past two seasons on the Vikings’ practice squad. The Vikes did not re-sign two-year backup Sean Mannion, and their hopes of trading up forJustin Fieldsdid not produce the desired result. Although Cousins has proven durable (zero missed games due to injury), the team may be vulnerable if its starter suffers an injury or lands on the reserve/COVID-19 list again.
Under Zimmer, the Vikings have used several veterans as backups. Matt Cassel, Shaun Hill, Case Keenum, Trevor Siemian and Mannion have been in these roles at various points over the past seven seasons. The Vikings’ 2017 Keenum addition proved rather important, with Sam Bradford going down early and Keenum delivering by far the best season of his career to steer the team to the NFC championship game.
Zimmer cited a need to be careful financially, despite the team holding more than $13MM in cap space and a QB2 signing unlikely to cost much at this point. Available options include Blake Bortles, new ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III and Josh Rosen. The latter, however, has not been viewed by his past two teams as a backup-caliber passer. Minnesota could look to the trade market as well. With Falcons backup A.J. McCarrongoing down with an ACL tear and the Jets also having no experience behind their starter, there figures to be competition on the trade front.
McLaughlin bounced around last year, appearing in games for the Colts, Chargers, and 49ers. He started off the 2019 season with the Vikings’ practice squad, and they’re bringing him back in 2020 to serve as extra insurance for Dan Bailey. Earlier this summer, he lost out on the Colts’ kicking job when Chris Ballard & Co. chose rookie Rodrigo Blankenship.
Here are Monday’s draft pick signings, with the list being updated throughout the day.
The Ravens agreed to terms with third-round linebacker Malik Harrison, per agent Drew Rosenhaus (Twitter link). Part of a key effort to upgrade the Ravens’ linebacking corps in the draft, Harrison will join first-round pick Patrick Queen in Baltimore. Baltimore has lost C.J. Mosley and Patrick Onwuasor in consecutive offseasons, and 2019 starter Josh Bynes signed with the Bengals this year. A four-year Ohio State contributor, Harrison flashed often as a senior. He registered 16.5 tackles for loss.
The Vikings are 1/14th of the way through their draft class signings. They inked seventh-round quarterback Nate Stanley on Monday, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Profiling as a practice squad candidate, the Iowa alum will join Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion and 2019 UDFA Jake Browning in Minnesota’s quarterback room. After throwing 26 touchdown passes in 2017 and ’18, Stanley mustered 16 last season. He did not complete 60% of his passes in a college season.