On Tuesday evening, some news broke that a former Viking was in Minneapolis to discuss a possible contract for the 2020 season. That player is safety, and a current free agent, George Iloka.
Free agent safety and former Viking George Iloka will remain in town for COVID-19 testing (visited today). If all goes well, could be back in Purple later this week. #Vikings
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) September 15, 2020
Iloka is currently undergoing COVID-19 protocols, but if everything works out, a deal could be finalized as early as this week. Iloka last played with the Vikings in 2018, and while he played all 16 games that season, he only started three of them at safety. This is mainly due to the emergence of Anthony Harris during that season.
While he didn’t provide a huge role on the field that season, Iloka has been known throughout his career as an excellent run defender and pass rusher from the safety position. At 6 foot 4 inches tall and 225 pounds, he is a physical specimen that has used every bit of his frame to attack opposing offenses.
The biggest complaint about Iloka has been his lack of ability to create turnovers, as in 99 games he only has nine interceptions.However, the Vikings really aren’t looking for him to make big plays on the field.
Iloka’s role may be small in terms of the actual X’s and O’s of the Vikings’ defensive schemes, but he would provide much needed depth at the safety position. The Vikings, kind of infamously considering how Sunday went, only had Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris at safety on the depth chart for week one.
If Smith or Harris ever needed to miss time due to injury or a COVID-19 diagnosis, Iloka is a veteran presence who is ready to fill in and is familiar with Zimmer’s system. Iloka not only played under Zimmer in 2018, but during his first two pro seasons in Cincinnati when Zimmer was his defensive coordinator.
The veteran is not only ready to lace up for snaps on Sunday, but he can help lead this young group in the locker room. He will be a great resource for rookie defensive backs Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler, Harrison Hand, and Myles Dorn (when he gets off IR).
This is a good sign for Vikings fans as the team is obviously trying to bring in some veteran leadership to rally the team together after the embarrassing performance in week one.