Oli Udoh

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.