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BREAKING: Vikings Likely to Sign S George Iloka

The Vikings defense looks to be getting even stronger.

The Minnesota Vikings are apparently adding to their already stellar defense. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Vikings will bring in and likely sign safety George Iloka on Wednesday. Iloka has ties to Mike Zimmer from the coach’s days as a defensive coordinator in Cincinnati.

Iloka, 28, was released by the Cincinnati Bengals on August 19th. A 2012 fifth round pick out of Boise State, he was the starting safety in Cincinnati for five seasons. The 6-foot-4, 225 pound defender received interest from the Vikings in 2016 when he was an unrestricted free agent.

Since taking over as the starter in 2013, Iloka started 76 out of a possible 80 games for Cincinnati. He collected nine interceptions and 32 passes defended during that time. In 2017 Iloka earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 71.4.


It remains to be seen what kind of impact this signing will have on the Vikings, who already have a solid one-two punch at safety with Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo. The team also has quality backups in Jayron Kearse and Anthony Harris.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and is an IT nerd by day. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBormanNFL.

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  1. But can he play OL or Linebacker!?

    Joking aside; how does this signing impact the ability to resign Barr?

    Also does he push for starting time or back up sendejo..couple years ago I would say he had the job now I think that’s not a given.

    1. Honestly, he’s got the size to play LB and could see time there in nickel packages. I see Zimmer using him and Sendejo as like a 1 and 1A.

      This shouldn’t hinder the Vikings ability to extend Barr if they want to, but it appears they want to see him prove he can play to his potential for a whole season first.

      1. Capt.S

        I have to agree with Sean in that Zimmer will use them as 1 and 1a ~ And if Sendejo gets into trouble with lowering his helmet and miss a game like he did last year they have a sure fire starter waiting in the wings ~ That is if Sendejo can hold off Iloka for the starting job ~

        {{{ Capt.S }}} Also Iloka at 6’4″ 225 lbs so does have the size and speed to play Will ~ It also should mean he could be a very good matchup for TE’s ~ He ran a 4.66 40 time when he came out of college ~ Sendejo ran a 4.65 40 at 6’1″ 210 lbs ~

        I also agree with Sean in that Barr will have to play out 2018 and do it well to get a new contract in 2019 ~ If not {{{ Maybe }}} LB will jump up the Vikings to do list for 2019 ~ However if one of the young LBer’s shows enough in 2018 who knows ~ It’s not like the coaches don’t work with these young guys once the season starts ~ They have to have them ready to step up at any time in case of a injury ~ I really like the Downs kid to make the 53 man roster ~ Ex Viking Ben Lerber really likes Downs and thinks he has a bright future ~

        The Vikings still have enough cap room if they feel they need it to sign a good free agent who might get cut as teams countdown to 53 ~ And there are always trade to be made for guys who still have a couple of good years left as teams clear cap space ~ That is if you don’t want to take a chance on the guy signing elsewhere ~ For me a guy who could start now and be good for the next couple of years is worth any 5th~6th~7th round draft pick it would take when a team is as close as the Vikings are to bring special ~

        Here is a oddball idea ~ The Vikings could always trade Sendejo for a OG who a team might be cutting if they can’t find a trade and start Anthony Harris if need be till Iloka was up to speed seeing how he hasn’t played for Zimmer in the past 4 seasons ~

        Total Cap Liabilities: $200,879,041Top 51: $174,169,660Team Cap Space: $10,703,195
        Offense: $94,393,203Defense: $101,091,414Special: $2,255,441

  2. I think this absolutely has a little something to do with ability to use Iloka in sub packages as a LB to get three safeties on the field and maybe let Barr rush the passer more. If memory serves, they were looking at using Kearse in this role in some mini-camp practices last year but we never saw it in games. Zimmer also just made some comments about needing LB depth and said it could be done in a variety of ways. This should make a great third down defense even better. I’m guessing he’s coming on a pretty team friendly deal and this won’t affect the cap situation much. The safety market hasn’t exactly been booming this off-season. I’m hoping they got him beyond this season so they have one less potential need next year with Sendejo entering the last year of his deal.

    1. George Iloka says he started talking with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday night. By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the former Cincinnati Bengals safety was getting ready to board a plane, hit the practice field and was immediately immersed into practice after signing a one-year, veteran-minimum $790,000 contract with only a $90,000 signing bonus, according to ESPN.