Duke Shelley

Vikings Sign CB Duke Shelley

Duke Shelley is back with a familiar team in time for training camp. The veteran corner re-joined the Vikings on Tuesday, per a team announcement.

Shelley spent his first three seasons in the league with Chicago, logging six starts and 30 appearances during that span. He did not survive roster cuts in 2022, though, and upon clearing waivers he found himself on the Vikings’ practice squad. The former sixth-rounder made five starts upon signing to Minnesota’s active roster that year, and he recorded his lone career interception during his first Vikings stint (one which predated the arrival of defensive coordinator Brian Flores).

In free agency last offseason, Shelley signed with the Raiders but again he did not manage to secure a roster spot during training camp. The 27-year-old did not need to wait long to find a new home, though, inking a deal with the Rams in September. During his lone Los Angeles campaign, Shelley played 11 games while primarily logging a special teams role.

His third phase experience could help him carve out a roster spot upon his return to Minnesota. Shelley did, however, log a 52% defensive snap share during his first Vikings stint, so he has experience handling at least a rotational role in the secondary. Minnesota has Byron Murphy and free agent addition Shaquill Griffin atop the depth chart as things stand, but Shelley will be able to compete for a backup gig.

The tragic death of rookie Khyree Jackson left the Vikings short on depth at the cornerback spot, and Shelley will aim to land a full-time gig during his return to Minnesota. The team entered Tuesday with over $21MM in cap space, so further roster moves in the coming days and weeks could still take place.

Rams Activate CB Duke Shelley

JANUARY 10: The Rams will end up using their final IR activation on Shelley. Announcing the veteran cornerback’s activation Wednesday, the Rams join the Dolphins and Texans as playoff squads who have used all eight of their IR-return moves this season.

JANUARY 3: Duke Shelley is set to make his return. The Rams announced that they’ve designated the defensive back for return from injured reserve.

With Shelley returning to practice today, the Rams officially kicked off his 21-day window to be activated. The veteran has been on injured reserve since late November while recovering from a hamstring injury.

After spending the preseason with the Raiders, Shelley caught on with the Rams active roster prior to the start of the 2023 campaign. Prior to his injury, Shelley appeared in all 11 games for the Rams, with the majority of his snaps coming on special teams. In total, Shelley had collected eight tackles, two passes defended, and one fumble recovery during his time in Los Angeles.

When Shelley is ultimately activated from IR, he’ll have a tough time garnering much playing time behind Ahkello Witherspoon, Derion Kendrick, and Cobie Durant. He’ll face some competition from rookie Tre Tomlinson for the fourth spot on the depth chart.

As our Injured Reserve Return Tracker shows, the Rams only have one IR activation remaining. Assuming that goes to Shelley, the team won’t be allowed to activate any more players this season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/23

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Waived from reserve/retired list: WR John Ross

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Ross signed a reserve/futures deal with the Chiefs in January but retired before training camp. The Combine 40-yard dash record holder now intends to resume his career, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo. Ross, who turned 28 today, has not played in a regular-season game since 2021 with the Giants.

A Raiders spring signee, Shelley did not make Las Vegas’ 53-man roster. The Rams picked him up before the season and have used him mostly on special teams. Shelley, who Bears and Vikings prior to this two-team 2023, has logged 76 defensive snaps this season. But the veteran cornerback has been on the field for 65% of Los Angeles’ special teams plays.

Rams Sign CB Duke Shelley

Not long after being let go by the Raiders, Duke Shelley has found a new home. The Rams made him a depth addition to their secondary, per a team announcement on Friday.

Shelley was one of several new corners brought in by the Raiders this offseason after their pass defense struggled in 2022. The 26-year-old did not have an impressive training camp, however, and he found himself out of contention for a starting role as final roster cuts loomed.

It thus came as little surprise that Shelley was among the vested veterans released by Vegas on Tuesday as they set their initial 53-man roster. Unlike players with less than four years of service time, Shelley was not subject to waivers and therefore eligible to sign on the Raiders’ practice squad or another team’s active roster at any time. He has not needed to wait long to find a new opportunity.

The former Bears sixth-rounder spent three years in Chicago, seeing a considerable jump in playing time with each passing season. He remained in the NFC North last year with the Vikings, during which time he started five of 11 contests and recorded his first career interception. Shelley also took a step forward in terms his coverage statistics, allowing a passer rating of 55.2 when targeted. He was nevertheless a member of a Minnesota secondary which understandably saw a number of changes made to it this offseason.

After failing to secure a full-time spot in Vegas, Shelley will attempt to do so with the Rams. As is the case at a number of positions, Los Angeles does not have any big-money commitments at the CB spot with Jalen Ramsey no longer in the picture. Shelley will be competing for playing time amongst the likes of Cobie DurantDerion Kendrick, Ahkello WitherspoonShaun Jolly and sixth-round rookie Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson.

Raiders Reduce Roster To 53 Players

The Raiders cut down their roster to 53 players today. However, in the process, they were forced to move on from a handful of veterans:



Placed on IR:

  • OT Dalton Wagner

The Raiders signed Jaquan Johnson early during free agency, and there was hope he’d provide some experienced depth to their secondary. Ultimately, the team decided to go in another direction, but that doesn’t mean the safety won’t quickly find another gig elsewhere. Johnson got into 60 games for the Bills over the past four years, including a 2022 campaign where he finished with a career-high 32 tackles and one interception.

On the other side of the ball, the organization moved on from some notable offensive weapons. Keelan Cole Sr. got into 14 games for the Raiders last season, collecting 10 receptions for 141 yards. Phillip Dorsett II joined Las Vegas this offseason after spending the 2022 campaign with the Texans, where he hauled in 20 catches. Damien Williams has close to 500 touches in the NFL, although he only got into one game for the lowly Falcons last season.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Raiders, Samuel

Although their interest in Dalvin Cook appeared to cool early in the long-running sweepstakes, the Broncos did keep tabs on the high-profile free agent. The team continued to look into Cook, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com said during a Rich Eisen Show appearance (video link). Cook has since signed a one-year, $7MM Jets deal. While Pelissero adds the Broncos may look to add another back to a group headlined by Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine, the team is sorting through some options behind the veterans. Second-year back Tyler Badie, rookie UDFA Jaleel McLaughlin and ex-Sean Payton Saints charge Tony Jones Jr. are vying for Denver’s RB3 job presently.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Raiders took a few fliers at cornerback in free agency, signing Duke Shelley and David Long and reuniting with Brandon Facyson. None of the trio looks likely to start. Instead, fourth-round pick Jakorian Bennett looks to have leapfrogged them. Shelley and Long have fallen out of the mix to start, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashaun Reed, who project Bennett to start alongside Marcus Peters and Nate Hobbs (subscription required). Both Long and Facyson have missed time due to injury in camp. The Raiders chose Bennett 104th overall, which would make a Week 1 starting assignment notable. But the Silver and Black, who let Rock Ya-Sin walk (to replace Peters in Baltimore), came into the offseason with major questions at corner.
  • Despite a three-interception wild-card performance, third-year Chargers corner Asante Samuel Jr. faced the prospect of being a backup to start this season. Ja’Sir Taylor, a sixth-round 2022 draftee, has competed with the multiyear starter for the slot job. But Samuel looks to have surged ahead, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. If J.C. Jackson completes his recovery from a torn patellar tendon in time, the Chargers are preparing to roll out a Jackson-Samuel-Michael Davis cornerback look. If Jackson needs more time, the Bolts would likely go with a Davis-Samuel-Taylor trio.
  • The Bolts are fairly set at receiver, with Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis‘ Fort Worth-to-Los Angeles treks giving the team five locks at the position. In addition to the TCU alums, Josh Palmer has made strides in his third training camp. This looked to put Jalen Guyton and John Hightower to a battle for the final spot, Popper adds. But both players are dealing with injuries. After a strong start to camp, Hightower — a 2020 Eagles draftee who has not caught a pass since his rookie year — suffered an injury and has not practiced in a week. Guyton, who suffered an ACL tear in Week 3 of last season, remains on the Bolts’ active/PUP list. Stashing the deep threat on the reserve/PUP list to start the season is looking likely, per Popper.
  • K’Waun Williams is expected to be the Broncos‘ slot corner for a second season, but an ankle injury has sidelined him for over a week. The veteran slot defender sought a second opinion on the injury recently, per 9News’ Mike Klis, who notes surgery is not on the docket at this point. A rest-and-rehab operation will be utilized to have Williams ready for Week 1, though this becomes a situation to monitor for a Broncos team that remains without third-round corner Riley Moss. Essang Bassey filled in for Williams as the top nickel in Denver’s preseason opener.
  • Davis Webb resides in the strange position of being a 28-year-old quarterbacks coach tasked with helping a decorated 34-year-old passer bounce back. But Russell Wilson‘s position coach has been on the coaching radar for a bit now, despite only retiring this year. After the Bills wanted him to be their QBs coach last year, Sean McDermott, Brian Daboll and Eli Manning endorsed Webb to Payton, Jori Epstein of Yahoo.com notes. Webb “blew away” Broncos brass in his interview, per GM George Paton. His final season — as a Giants third-stringer — involved scouting and coaching, Epstein adds, making this an easier transition than it would appear.

Raiders Sign CB Duke Shelley

Similar to their defensive line strategy in 2022, the Raiders look to be buying in bulk at cornerback. They have now added a third corner with starting experience this offseason.

Duke Shelley agreed to terms with the Silver and Black on Thursday, the team announced. Shelley has spent his career in the NFC North, suiting up for the Bears and Vikings over the past four years. While Shelley has seen special teams action, he has been a regular on defense in both Chicago and Minnesota over the past two years.

The Vikings turned to Shelley as a starter on five occasions last season; the former sixth-round pick became the primary replacement for Cameron Dantzler during his IR stay. The Vikings also lost second-round pick Andrew Booth to what turned out to be a season-ending injury, further opening the door for Shelley. The Kansas State product played in 11 games for the Vikes in 2022, despite spending time on their practice squad, and logged a 52% snap rate during those contests.

This qualifies as an interesting flier. Although Shelley played just 397 snaps on defense with the Vikings, Pro Football Focus rated the 5-foot-9 defender as its No. 4 overall cornerback. Shelley allowed just a 45.7% completion rate — on 46 targets — and limited quarterbacks to a collective 55.2 passer rating as the closest defender in coverage. The Raiders will bring him aboard to see if the career backup’s 2022 work was a fluke.

The Bears used Shelley on 61% of their defensive plays in 2021 but waived him shortly after roster-cutdown day last year. He worked as a slot corner that year in Chicago but played on the boundary last season in Minnesota, as Chandon Sullivan manned the slot. The change provided intriguing results.

Shelley, 26, joins Brandon Facyson and David Long as corners to have signed with the Raiders since free agency’s outset. The team still has Nate Hobbs and Amik Robertson on its roster. The holdovers’ presences alongside the depth signings notwithstanding, this should still be considered a need area for the team. But Josh McDaniels‘ club is collecting some low-cost options this offseason.

Vikings Place CB Cameron Dantzler On IR

Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler was placed on injured reserve yesterday as the result of an ankle injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The loss of their starting cornerback comes at a four-game stretch where the Vikings’ opponents are a combined 23-13.

Dantzler has become a full-time starter in his third season in the NFL. When Dantzler left last week’s win over the Commanders, Minnesota utilized a mixture of Akayleb Evans and Chandon Sullivan opposite the team’s other starter Patrick Peterson. The two were asked once again to step in today against the Bills before Evans left the game with an apparent concussion, requiring the Vikings to turn to rookie second-round pick Andrew Booth who was playing his first career NFL snaps on defense.

The Vikings will hope Evans can clear concussion protocols quickly to avoid having to rely too much on Booth and Kris Boyd, who had seen a combined two defensive snaps before today’s game. The team also expects Dantzler to make a return this season. By placing him on IR before today’s matchup, the game will count toward the four-game minimum that he must remain on IR before being eligible to return. If he can recover quickly, Dantzler can be eligible to return as soon as Week 14, in time for a trip to Detroit.

In a corresponding move yesterday, the Vikings also signed practice squad cornerback Duke Shelley to the active roster. The third-year cornerback out of Kansas State had appeared in two games prior to this week but only appeared on special teams. Shelley was also forced into action during the team’s overtime win today, breaking up a pass intended for Bills tight end Dawson Knox in the endzone that would’ve ended the game had it been completed. Instead, Peterson intercepted quarterback Josh Allen on the very next play, cementing the seventh-straight victory for the Vikings.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/24/22

Lots of moves leading into gameday. Remember that players promoted from the practice squad for games will revert back to the practice squad after:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/19/22

Today’s minor moves, including some standard practice squad elevations for the two Monday Night Football games:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Commanders


Brewer has completed a pretty unlikely path to an NFL game. Coming out of Coastal Carolina, the defensive lineman had to have surgery following an injury suffered in the Chanticleers’ bowl game. With no college all-star game and no NFL Combine, Brewer had only his Pro Day to show his ability. After going undrafted and unsigned as a college free agent, he earned a rookie mini camp tryout and got to stay for training camp as the lowest player on the depth chart. Brewer played more than any other defensive player in training camp and stayed healthy. He got cut, signed with the practice squad, and is now getting an opportunity to appear in his first NFL game.

The Cowboys had hoped to re-sign Ridgeway after waiving him. It doesn’t appear that Washington was the only team to keep him from returning to Dallas, as multiple teams reportedly submitted claims for the former fifth-round pick.