Oli Udoh

Saints Sign OT Oli Udoh

The Saints have added some depth on the offensive line. The team announced that they’ve agreed to terms with offensive tackle Oli Udoh.

The former sixth-round pick spent five seasons with the Vikings to begin his career, appearing in 43 games. He only got an extended look during one of the those campaigns, starting 16 games for Minnesota in 2021. He landed back on the bench in 2022, starting one game (plus a playoff start) while appearing in only 131 offensive snaps.

Udoh re-signed with the Vikings last offseason and earned a starting nod in Week 2. However, he suffered a quad injury in that game, ending his season after only two appearances.

The Saints will be counting on Udoh to provide some depth in 2024. Ryan Ramczyk will be back in the starting lineup, but the team is currently eyeing one of Udoh, Trevor Penning, Landon Young, and Tommy Kraemer for the other starting tackle spot.

The Saints also made a move of the defensive side of the ball, re-signing safety Ugo Amadi. The former Seahawks draft pick spent the 2022 campaign bouncing between the Eagles, Titans, and Chiefs practice squads. He caught on with the Saints last offseason and proceeded to get into all 17 games, collecting 12 tackles while garnering the majority of his snaps on special teams.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/19/23

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Tennessee Titans

Michael Dogbe, a former seventh-round pick, got into 40 games for the Cardinals through the first four seasons of his career. This included 2021 and 2022 campaigns where he appeared in 29 games, collecting 55 tackles and one sack. He caught on with the Texans last week and proceeded to appear in about 25 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this past weekend.

Kyle Peko will bring 31 games of experience to the Titans defensive line. The veteran has already been promoted by the Titans twice this season and started both of his appearances, collecting four tackles. He’ll be taking the spot of Jayden Peevy, who got into two games across two seasons with the organization.

Vikings OL Oli Udoh Out For Season

Late in Thursday night’s game, the Vikings needed to turn to their third-string left tackle. With Christian Darrisaw on the sidelines, Oli Udoh had stepped in. But what turned out to be a serious quad injury led him off the field as well.

David Quessenberry finished the narrow loss to the Eagles at left tackle. The veteran looks likely to be bumped up a spot on the Vikings’ depth chart soon. Udoh suffered what turned out to be a torn quad tendon, Kevin O’Connell said Friday (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling). The backup blocker is out for the season.

The Vikings re-signed Udoh in March, giving the former guard starter a one-year, $2.58MM deal. The team fully guaranteed the pact at that point. While Udoh collected a bit of cash to stay in Minnesota, his career will pause for an extended period.

Udoh started 16 games at right guard for the Vikings in 2021, but the team drafted Ed Ingram in the 2022 second round to replace him. Once Ingram won that job, Udoh shifted to a role as a swing tackle. He replaced Brian O’Neill on the right side to close last season, after the veteran starter suffered a major injury, and started in place of Darrisaw against the Eagles. Minnesota played without both Darrisaw and center Garrett Bradbury against Philadelphia.

The Vikings added Quessenberry shortly after the Bills released him on roster-cutdown day. Quessenberry, 33, has made 26 starts in his career; 17 of those came with the Titans in 2021. He served as the Bills’ swing tackle last season but saw rookie UDFA Ryan Van Demark beat him out for the job this year. The Vikings gave the seventh-year veteran an opportunity, however, and may need to rely on him as the top backup to Darrisaw and O’Neill going forward. O’Connell is optimistic Darrisaw returns for Week 3, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com notes.

Vikings To Re-Sign OL Oli Udoh

Set to return their entire starting offensive line, the Vikings are also retaining multiple key backups. Oli Udoh will be one of them, with CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reporting (via Twitter) the veteran swingman agreed to terms Saturday to stay with the team.

Udoh has started at multiple positions for the Vikings. He spent the 2021 season as the team’s full-time right guard starter, and after Brian O’Neill went down in January, the former Minnesota sixth-round pick finished the season as the team’s first-string right tackle. Udoh joins interior O-line backup Austin Schlottmann as having agreed to stay in Minnesota this week.

Despite most of Minnesota’s O-linemen being in place before the arrivals of Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the team will be running it back up front in 2023. Center Garrett Bradbury re-signed with the team on a three-year, $15.75MM deal, and Ed Ingram joins Christian Darrisaw and Ezra Cleveland on rookie contracts. O’Neill is signed to a long-term extension.

While Schlottmann arrived in Minneapolis during the new Vikings regime’s first year in charge, Udoh joined the team under Rick Spielman back in 2019. Udoh, who emerged on the draft radar out of Division I-FCS Elon, spent two seasons as a backup before winning the starting right guard job in 2021. He started 16 games in 2021, ranking outside the top 60 at guard in the view of Pro Football Focus that year. The Vikings opted to replace Udoh with Ingram last year, after an offseason during which they added Chris Reed and Jesse Davis. But Udoh, 26, now remains in the picture beyond his rookie contract.

The Vikings played without Bradbury for a stretch late last season, and they lost O’Neill in Week 17. The team called upon Udoh to start the season finale and the team’s wild-card playoff game. PFF viewed Udoh’s two-game tackle sample as much better, though obviously in a much smaller sample size. He, Schlottmann and Reed will be back in position to be the team’s second-stringers up front.

O’Neill’s partially torn Achilles brought Udoh into the lineup, but despite the injury occurring in January, ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert notes (via Twitter) Minnesota’s longtime right tackle starter is expected back by training camp.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Jenkins, Udoh, Lowe

The Lions enter Week 18 with a chance to head to the postseason for the first time since 2016, needing a win tonight and help from the Rams this afternoon. Securing a playoff spot would be a testament to their turnaround from a 1-6 start, owing in large part to the play of their offense.

On the other side of the ball, though, Detroit has struggled across the board. The Lions rank last in total defense and are tied for 29th in the NFL in terms of points per game allowed (25.7). That has led to the expectation that a number of offseason moves aimed at shoring up the unit will be among their top priorities.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press identifies the secondary as an area of particular focus with respect to improving on defense (subscription required). A number of starters on the backend (including cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs, as well as safeties Kerby Joseph and Tracy Walker) are already on the books for next season, but many others could be headed elsewhere. Among the notable names of pending free agents is corner Amani Oruwariye, who seemed poised for an extension last spring but has not started a game since Week 8 this season amidst a shift to more of a special teams role. That included being benched in Week 5, a sign pointing to a parting of ways come the new league year.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC North:

  • The Packers took care of an important piece of business recently by extending o-lineman Elgton Jenkins on a four-year deal which could be worth up to $74MM. As a result of the new pact, Green Bay was able to adjust the 27-year-old’s base salary for this season, and reap financial benefits down the road. As Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details (on Twitter), the Packers’ structuring of the deal will see Jenkins carry a cap hit of only $6.8MM in 2023, a season in which the team is projected to have very little financial wiggle room due to cap spikes from the deals such as those for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left tackle David Bakhtiari and cornerback Jaire Alexander.
  • Jenkins has a new deal, and could wind up with a new position at some point. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said (via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, on Twitter) that the Pro Bowler could play at any spot along the o-line “down the road.” Jenkins has returned to his familiar left guard spot this year after adding to his time spent as a right tackle earlier in the campaign; he also has experience at center and left tackle dating back to previous seasons.
  • Oli Udoh had been facing misdemeanour charges stemming from an incident in October, but the Vikings guard is now in the clear. Odoh was charged with resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct after he was removed from a nightclub during the team’s bye week, but those charges have been dropped, as noted by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. A statement from his attorney reads in part, “The video evidence and eyewitness testimony we presented to the prosecutor made clear that the allegations in the police report were completely fabricated and Oli was unlawfully arrested.” Udoh had been relegated to backup duty in 2022, but he could see starter’s snaps at right tackle moving forward in the absence of Brian O’Neill.
  • The Bears are set to lose a member of their coaching staff with the regular season coming to a close. Defensive backs coach James Rowe is leaving the team, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin (Twitter link). This had been his first season in Chicago, after he had also spent time in similar roles with Washington and Indianapolis amidst several college stints. Rowe will head back to his alma mater, UCF, to serve as their new defensive passing game coordinator.

NFC North Rumors: Smith, Corbett, Peterson, Udoh

One of the biggest headlines of the day was when Baltimore acquired Bears linebacker Roquan Smith in exchange for a second- and fifth-round pick. Lots led to this deal being made, but no one can say the Bears didn’t try to hold on to Smith.

General manager Ryan Poles claimed that the Bears made a contract offer to Smith that contained a “record-setting” piece, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Smith had been representing himself and negotiations have reportedly gone nowhere, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. Not only were the negotiations at an impasse but Adam Jahns of The Athletic tells us they were also apparently tenuous enough to change the team’s perception of Smith.

Regardless, negotiations to extend Smith will now fall on the Ravens’ shoulders, and, according to Biggs, the move shows that pretty much anyone on the Bears’ roster is fair game to be traded before tomorrow’s deadline.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC North, all coming out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota:

  • As the trade deadline approaches, an ideal target for the Vikings is Panthers offensive guard Austin Corbett, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minnesota. Minnesota was in on Corbett during his free agency this offseason but lost out to Carolina, who signed him to a three-year, $26.25MM deal. The Vikings would love to add Corbett to anchor an offensive line with several young, impressive players, but it appears that Carolina, justifiably, views him as a core player to build around for the future.
  • After throwing some shots at Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray during his in-game celebrations, Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson expressed some lingering discontentment with his former franchise, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Peterson claimed that someone in the organization used to print out emails from a fan about “how he couldn’t tackle and was washed up” and would leave the letters at his locker in Arizona. Peterson’s jabs make a little more sense with some context about his feelings towards the organization near the end of his tenure.
  • Vikings backup offensive lineman Oli Udoh was arrested last weekend after allegedly harassing a female patron then scuffling with club security at Club e11even in Miami, according to John Shipley of the Pioneer Press. Udoh and his attorney “dispute the reported facts of the incident,” according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, and head coach Kevin O’Connell told the media that he expects a positive outcome. He participated as usual in practice this week. Udoh was a full-time starter for the Vikings last year but has functioned in a backup capacity this season with rookie second-round pick Ed Ingram taking over as the team’s starting right guard.

Vikings OL Oli Udoh On Roster Bubble?

Oli Udoh started 16 games for the Vikings last season, but the offensive lineman may be fighting for his job. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert mentions Udoh as a player who’s firmly on the Vikings roster bubble.

Udoh was a sixth-round pick by the Vikings in 2019. After appearing in only seven games through his first two seasons in the NFL, he started 16 of his 17 appearances in 2021 at guard. He also got in 94 percent of his team’s offensive snaps.

While he saw an increased role, the lineman didn’t necessarily do the most with his opportunity. He tied for the league lead in penalties, and Pro Football Focus ranked him 65th among 82 qualifying offensive guards. He was particularly bad in pass-blocking situations, so the Vikings were fortunate to limit Kirk Cousins to only 28 sacks.

With a new coaching staff, Udoh will have to once again prove his worth, but he’ll have an uphill battle. Free agent addition Jesse Davis was getting most of the reps at right guard during minicamp, per Seifert. The Vikings also used a second-round pick on guard Ed Ingram. Udoh does have the ability to play tackle, so his versatility could help him stick around as a backup lineman. However, if the organization decides to roster someone else, the Vikings could easily move off Udoh and his $1MM cap hit.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Vikings OL Dru Samia Tests Positive For COVID-19

Vikings offensive lineman Dru Samia has tested positive for COVID-19, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Contact tracing is being performed, and Samia and anyone deemed a high-risk contact will not be permitted to travel with the team for tomorrow night’s game against the Bears.

Samia, a 2019 fourth-rounder, started four games for Minnesota earlier this year before returning to a reserve role. But the Vikings just released Pat Elflein and now find themselves without their top backup at guard. Plus, there is a good chance that there will indeed be high-risk contacts given the nature of O-line/D-line play.

Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com suggests that Brett Jones, who is currently on the practice squad, and Oli Udoh could find themselves in the O-line mix if any of Samia’s fellow blockers are deemed high-risk contacts or if the team should suffer an injury during tomorrow’s game. Cronin also expects the Vikes to promote Aviante Collins from the practice squad (Twitter link).

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Vikings Sign Three Draft Picks

The Vikings got ahead of the game on Friday by signing the following draft choices (all Twitter links from Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press):

Smith, who grew up in sunny California, will have to get used to the cold weather in Minnesota. He didn’t impress with his measurables in workouts, but he has proven to be a savvy defender in live action. In 2017, he led the Trojans with 112 tackles, with 11 tackles for a loss. He was slowed somewhat by injuries last year, but still managed 81 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss in ten games.

Watts measures in at 6’5″ and roughly 300 pounds, so he already has the size to compete in the NFL. In accordance with his slot, he’ll receive a four-year, $2.687MM deal with a $167K signing bonus.