Vikings Sign Former Bears DE
The saga continued on Thursday as the Minnesota Vikings have signed a handful of players from their main division rivals, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, this offseason.
This time it was Chicago, and Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah welcomed pass rusher Jonathan Bullard to the organization.
Accordingly, Minnesota was obligated to make a roster move, waiving defensive end Kenny Willekes, a once-promising prospect drafted by Rick Spielman in the 7th Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Willekes was waived with an injury distinction, although details of the injury were not immediately clear.
For Bullard, the Vikings mark his fifth team in seven seasons, previously working for the Atlanta Falcons (2021), Seattle Seahawks (2020), Arizona Cardinals (2019), and Bears (2016-2018). Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Bullard has registered 113 total tackles, 15 quarterback hits, and 3.5 sacks in 70 career games. And the University of Florida alumnus has started in 15 of the 70 contests.
Bullard should be considered a depth lineman at this juncture of the offseason as the edges of the Vikings defensive line are spoken for with the presence of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius. However, behind Hunter and Smith, no clear-cut third pass rusher is evident, so the job is open to anybody. D.J. Wonnum is classified by most as the frontrunner.
These are Minnesota’s EDGE rushers as of June 2nd after the Bullard addition:
LOLB1: Danielle Hunter
LOLB2: Patrick Jones II
LOLB3: Zach McCloud
LOLB4: Jonathan Bullard
ROLB1: Za’Darius Smith
ROLB2: D.J. Wonnum
ROLB3: Janarius Robinson
ROLB4: Luiji Vilain
Eight pass rushers won’t make the 53-man roster in September (unless something really weird happens), and Bullard will have to fight for a spot on the depth chart. Bullard could also play some snaps on the interior of the defensive line as versatility is one of his strong suits.
Bullard is 28 years old and has a decent Pro Football Focus resume:
- 2016 = 52.3
- 2017 = 66.6
- 2018 = 60.7
- 2019 = 56.2
- 2020 = 56.5
- 2021 = 56.7
At Florida in 2015, Bullard was 1st-Team All-SEC and 3rd-Team All-American.
Bullard was employed with new Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell from 2016 to 2018 in Chicago while Donatell was the defensive backs coach.
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).