Vikings Rookie CB Is an Instant Fan-Favorite
Onlookers of the Minnesota Vikings first learned about cornerback Akayleb Evans in the 2022 NFL Draft as the player new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah “scouted at night in the dark.”
A 4th-Rounder from Missouri, the Vikings traded a 2022 5th-Round pick and 2023 4th-Rounder to the Cleveland Browns, Adofo-Mensah’s former employer, for the pick that landed Evans.
Evans will compete for defensive snaps in 2022 with players like Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Andrew Booth, and Chandon Sullivan. That’s a rosy way of explaining Evans may not make an immediate impact this season. However, Evans has already mastered the fan angle. Multiple readers of VikingsTerritory have emailed asking more about Evans and the prospect of his playing time in September.
Although Evans has been a part of the Vikings for just two months, he’s quickly mastered the social-media angle of the NFL. Almost daily, Evans posts on Twitter engaging fans — and it’s all of an upbeat nature.
For example, Evans tweeted this on Friday.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Moreover, Evans doesn’t seem to tweet just to tweet. He genuinely enjoys the Vikings fanbase and being involved with the franchise on the whole.
On the football side, Evans is tall and lean, viewed as a disruptor in the secondary. He might be “raw” for game-readiness, but with Peterson, Dantzler, and Booth on the roster, Evans doesn’t have to be ready for September. Defensive Ed Donatell and Co. can develop Evans erstwhile the Vikings hope to contend for the postseason.
The Vikings have spent an enormous amount of draft capital on cornerbacks over the last decade. Since 2013, Minnesota has drafted eight cornerbacks with 3rd-Round-or-higher draft capital, and only one, Dantzler, is on the team to show for it. In that regard, a late-rounder like Evans has the opportunity to “pick up the slack” left by the previous leadership regime.
In time, Evans hopes to become only the second Pro Bowler in Vikings history drafted from the 4th Round. The other man was Everson Griffen, who remains a free agent.
If not, at least the 23-year-old is an elite and infectious hype man.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).