Stephen Weatherly

Vikings, DE Stephen Weatherly Discussing Extension

A former seventh-rounder could be eyeing a significant pay raise. Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com reports that the Vikings and defensive end Stephen Weatherly have started to discuss a contract extension.

The 25-year-old is set to make $720K in the final year of his contract, but both sides are hoping this won’t be Weatherly’s final season in Minnesota.

“There’s only one more year left,’’ Weatherly told Tomasson. “If that’s what they want, by all means I’ll be down for (an extension). If they think I’m good enough to keep around, then that would be amazing. I was drafted in the seventh round and worked my way up. That would be a pretty good story to tell my kids one day.’’

Agent Blake Baratz acknowledged that the two sides have discussed a possible extension, but he also noted that there are some hurdles to overcome.

“We’ve had some discussions,’’ Baratz said. “He definitely would like to be here. I know the Vikings want him here. They don’t have the most cap room in the league, so who knows if it will happen before this season, during this season, after this season? I don’t think there’s a timetable on it, but I think it makes sense for both parties. A lot of things have got to play out first, but I think it’s a desire on both parties.’’

As the agent notes, the Viking aren’t working with a whole lot of cap space, as they’re currently sitting with around $612K in room. Further complicating matters are impending extensions for cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. As Tomasson notes, moving tight end Kyle Rudolph and his $7.625MM cap number should provide the Vikings with some wiggle room.

The Vikings selected Weatherly in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, although the Vanderbilt product rarely played during his rookie campaign. The defensive end saw more playing time during the 2017 campaign, and that led to him having a breakout season in 2018. Weatherly finished last season establishing career-highs across the board, compiling 35 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble in 16 games (six starts).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Cut Ronnie Hillman

Ronnie Hillman‘s time in Minnesota is through. The Vikings announced that Hillman has been waived. To fill his spot on the roster, defensive end Stephen Weatherly has been signed from the practice squad. Ronnie Hillman (vertical)

Hillman signed with the Vikings in September after Adrian Peterson was placed on injured reserve. Since then, he has posted a grand total of 50 yards off of 18 carries plus four catches for 43 yards. On Sunday, he had only two rushing attempts, the latest sign that he was being pushed further down in the pecking order.

Hillman‘s deal with the Vikings was a one-year pact worth the prorated league minimum of $760K with no guaranteed money, so the Vikings won’t be on the hook for anything going forward. The Broncos had offset language on the $400K in guaranteed salary owed to Hillman, so they have now been relieved of most or all of that debt.

Weatherly, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft, signed with the Vikings’ taxi squad after missing the final cut. The Vanderbilt product will slot behind Danielle Hunter and Justin Trattou as reserve bookends behind Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. He could also contribute as an outside linebacker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings’ Roster Stands At 53

The Vikings have trimmed their roster down to 53 by making the following moves:

Placed on IR:

Placed On NFI:

  • QB Taylor Heinicke

Moore, who turns 26 next week, appeared in eight games for the Pats in 2014 after being taken with a sixth-round pick. In 2015, he found his way to Minnesota where he appeared in one regular season contest.

Boehringer, a native of Germany, became the first international player to go straight from a European league to the NFL when the Vikings chose him in the sixth round. He ultimately failed to earn a roster spot, though he could land on the Vikings’ practice squad, per Rapoport.

Vikings Reach Deals With Four Draft Picks

The Vikings have been the most active team so far when it comes to locking up their draft picks. After officially announcing the signing of German wideout Moritz Boehringer earlier this week, the team has now reached agreements with four other draftees, including second-round cornerback Mackensie Alexander, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.Mackensie Alexander (Vertical)

In addition to Alexander, the Vikings have agreed to terms with sixth-round tight end David Morgan, seventh-round linebacker Stephen Weatherly, and seventh-round safety Jayron Kearse. All four players are expected to formally sign their rookie contracts on Thursday. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News first reported word of Morgan’s agreement (via Twitter), while Tomasson had the rest.

Contract negotiations with rookie draftees are easy than they used to be, since the total value of a rookie contract, along with the signing bonus, is essentially predetermined by where a player is drafted. For the Vikings, Alexander will get a signing bonus worth about $1.4MM on his four-year contract. Morgan, Weatherly, and Kearse are in line for bonuses of about $135K, $81K, and $64K, respectively, per Over the Cap.

With five members of their eight-man draft class having agreed to terms, the Vikes will just have to get first-round wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Beavers, and fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers under contract. That’s expected to happen very soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pauline’s Latest: Eagles, Elliott, Mathews, Cook

Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net is back with another round of draft-related updates and rumors at WalterFootball.com, so let’s see what he has for us, with less than two weeks until draft day….

  • If the Eagles select running back Ezekiel Elliott and decide to make Ryan Mathews available, the Cowboys and 49ers would have interest in the veteran, per Pauline. As James Walker of ESPN.com tweets, Elliott feels like the Eagles have shown the most interest in him so far, so it’s possible he’ll end up in Philadelphia. Even in that scenario though, and even if the club was willing to trade Mathews, it’s not clear whether Howie Roseman would be enthusiastic about dealing with a divisional rival or with Chip Kelly‘s team.
  • Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook continues to be plagued by leadership questions, with Pauline hearing that he came off as “flippant and cavalier” during some team interviews. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that he expects Cook to come off the board earlier than many observers expect, which could still be true, since all it takes is one team willing to roll the dice.
  • San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin is drawing interest around the league and could end up as a day two pick, says Pauline. The Panthers, Browns, Texans, Saints, and Patriots have hosted Ervin for pre-draft visits.
  • Vanderbilt linebacker Stephen Weatherly has worked out for the Panthers, Patriots, Colts, and Cardinals, and has visited the Panthers, Broncos, Saints, Raiders, Chiefs, and Vikings. Meanwhile, Maryland linebacker Yannick Ngakoue worked out for the Texans, Cowboys, Saints, Colts, Titans, Ravens, Dolphins, and Patriots, in addition to making several previously-reported visits. Pauline believes both players may come off the board earlier than expected.

Extra Points: Wisniewski, Fuchs, Cards, Vikings

The one-year contract for new Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is worth slightly more than the $2.5MM he earned from Jacksonville last season, a source tells Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. Still, Wisniewski was somewhat disappointed that he couldn’t land a longer-term deal this offseason.

“It’s been tough,” Wisniewski said. “I certainly was hoping to sign a long-term deal for some good money. I thought I’d played well enough to deserve that – a lot of people did. It just kind of didn’t work out, with circumstances and whatnot.”

Wisniewski, who said the Jaguars were “kind of lowballing me, to be honest,” is hoping to parlay his one-year pact with the Eagles into a multiyear agreement in Philadelphia or elsewhere in 2017, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. In order to have a chance to do that, Wisniewski will probably have to win the starting left guard job — otherwise, his playing time could depend on the health of center Jason Kelce.

Here are a few more Tuesday odds and ends from around the NFL…

  • Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs told Patrick Davison of Sky Sports that he has “ambitions to become an NFL kicker.” The 29-year-old isn’t planning on moving on from soccer quite yet, but when he does, he believes he could potentially make the transition to American football. “If NFL managers want a footballer in their team, I know I can kick a 60-yard field goal,” Fuchs said. “Let’s see. Dreams can come true you know if you don’t dream you won’t reach anything.”
  • Virginia Tech defensive end/linebacker Dadi Nicolas visited the Cardinals on Tuesday, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. The Cardinals also worked out Portland State long snapper Kameron Canaday – for a second time – and Portland State cornerback Aaron Sibley, tweets Getlin.
  • The Vikings are hosting Vanderbilt pass rusher Stephen Weatherly on a pre-draft visit, and are also bringing in Clemson safety T.J. Green, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter links). Wolfson adds that Green – who visited Arizona on Monday – will also make a trip to Pittsburgh to meet with the Steelers.
  • Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones visited with the Eagles today, Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.