Vikings sign all 10 members of practice squad to future deals
EAGAN, Minn. -- The Vikings are bringing back their entire practice squad.
Minnesota announced Wednesday, Jan. 2, the signing of 10 players to future deals. Barring any more moves, all will be on the 90-man offseason roster when spring drills begin.
Signing were tackles Adam Bisnowaty and Storm Norton, wide receiver Jeff Badet, linebacker Reshard Cliett, defensive tackle Curtis Cothran, center Cornelius Edison, tight end Cole Hikutini, cornerback Jalen Myrick, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and running back Roc Thomas.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the impending signings of Norton, Badet, Cliett, Cothran and Myrick on Monday, Dec, 31. Myrick played at the University of Minnesota.
Odenigbo told the Pioneer Press last month he planned to sign a future deal with the Vikings. Philadelphia wanted to sign Odenigbo to its 53-man roster, but he opted to stay on the Vikings’ practice squad, and they raised his salary to $28,235 a week, which is what he would have made on an Eagles’ minimum deal. The NFL practice squad minimum is $7,600 a week.
“This is a very great organization from top to bottom,” Odenigbo said last month. “I think I’ve improved immensely the last two years since I’ve been here.”
O’NEILL STILL BULKING UP
The weight gaining will continue for Vikings tackle Brian O’Neill.
The 6-foot-7 O’Neill spoke in July about eating 6,000 calories a day to gain about 10 pounds to get over 300. Now, after the completion of his rookie season, he’s committing to bulking up even more.
“I definitely want to add a little bit to my lower half, whatever it is, five to 10 pounds,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill, listed on the roster at 297 pounds, also plans this offseason to work on conditioning and to come back “bigger, faster and stronger.”
O’Neill, taken in the second round, started 11 games and was ranked by Pro Football Focus No. 56 out of 85 tackles. He started some early-season games because of injuries and then beat out Rashod Hill to start at right tackle the second half of the year.
“I felt like I learned a lot, I improved a lot,” O’Neill said. “At the end of the day it was not what we wanted (by not making the playoffs), but I got to keep my head held high knowing I gave it every ounce of energy I had, and I made a positive impact.”
KEARSE SEEKS BIGGER ROLE
After years of sporadic usage, safety Jayron Kearse will do what he can this offseason to put himself in position for more playing time.
Kearse played 202 defensive snaps in 2018, 19.4 percent of the team’s total. He had games in October of 29 and 37 plays but then had games in December of two plays (twice) and four plays.
“I’ve just got to work my tail off,” Kearse said. “At the end of the day, I don’t control anything about my playing time, but all I can do is work and do what I can to put myself in the best position to get on the field. I feel like I’m a good football player when given an opportunity. It’s just about me keeping my head up and staying confident, and we’ll see how it shakes out.”
Meanwhile, Kearse and cornerback Mackensie Alexander, both of whom played at Clemson, are planning to go together to Monday’s national championship game in Santa Clara, Calif., between the Tigers and Alabama.
EDWARDS READIES FOR INTERVIEW
Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten believes Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards will be well prepared when he interviews Friday for Tampa Bay’s head position.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance works with the NFL on minority hiring, and Edwards has been on a list the past four years it puts out of recommended candidates. Wooten believes Edwards having an interview last year with Chicago, his first to be a head coach, will help him with the Buccaneers.
“I think he’s ready to make a good showing,” Wooten said. “I think he can get a good shot there.”