Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History

Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History
Kalon Barnes

Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History

They talked with the man way back in April, decided not to draft him, and then acquired his services on December 14th. That’s Kalon Barnes, the newest member of the Minnesota Vikings, a cornerback signed off the practice squad from the Miami Dolphins.

The Carolina Panthers actually drafted Barnes before the defensive back found his way to Miami. And at the 2022 NFL Combine, the Baylor alumnus ran a 4.23 forty-yard dash, the fastest by any defender entering the NFL since 2003. The man can fly.

Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History
Jun 15, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Kalon Barnes. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes arrives to the Vikings as rookie CBs Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans are on injured reserve. Booth had surgery on a torn meniscus and is out for the season. Evans is battling successive concussions and is out for at least three more games, although he is expected back for the postseason.

Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History

During the draft process, few traits excite onlookers more than speed. Of course, the track record for “fastest guy in the draft” rarely translates to automatic stardom in the pros. But the sizzle of a team adding a weapon with comic-book speed is indeed titillating. Sizzling speed is Barnes’ dance.

Aug 13, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders running back Jaret Patterson (32) carries the ball as Carolina Panthers cornerback Kalon Barnes. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes played all four years at Baylor, tallying 3 interceptions in 35 collegiate games. The Draft Network described Barnes’ game like this back in April:

Barnes is primarily a zone corner that will tend to play with a tight cushion in his bail technique because he knows he is fast. Thornton has the make-up speed to catch up with receivers even when he waits too long to flip his hips and run. Barnes still has parts of his game that need to be developed and early in his NFL career, he will be best served to go to a defensive scheme that runs zone principles that he is familiar with from his time at Baylor.

The Draft Network

The Vikings already employ one of the fastest players in the NFL with running back Kene Nwangwu, so the addition of Barnes is just an embarrassment of riches for speed. It is unclear what role Barnes will immediately play for the Vikings if any active responsibility at all.

Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes was a teammate of current Vikings defensive lineman James Lynch at Baylor.

The Vikings host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday and are favored by four points to win and clinch the NFC North for the first time since 2017. Minnesota hasn’t toppled Indianapolis in 25 years, losing the last six contests between the clubs. This time, though, the Colts enter the showdown with a crummy 4-8-1 record.

Barnes will turn 24 on Friday.

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 Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).