Ex-Vikings Defender Joins Cardinals

Ex-Vikings Defender Joins Cardinals
Aug 28, 2020; Eagan, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Blake Lynch. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Arizona Cardinals sunk to an unsavory 2-4 record last weekend, forcing the franchise to reexamine the current roster.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim traded for wide receiver Robbie Anderson from the maligned Carolina Panthers this week and signed kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. He also added a departed Minnesota Vikings linebacker — Blake Lynch.

The Vikings found Lynch as an undrafted free agent before the pandemic season in 2020, and he stayed on the roster in variform for a smidgen over two seasons (if one counts the 2022 preseason).

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Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Blake Lynch. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

In total, Lynch played 20 games for the Vikings while starting seven. He’s notched 47 total tackles, three passes defended, two sacks, a tackle for loss, and a QB hit during his two-year career. The Baylor alumnus was on the Vikings roster bubble this summer but fell short to rookie Brian Asamoah and veteran Troy Dye, who live on the Vikings active roster. Lynch could’ve joined Minnesota’s practice squad, in theory, but the Vikings chose rookie linebacker William Kwenkeu instead.

Lynch recorded a 64.6 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 and a 34.1 as a rookie in 2020. He was a mainstay of the Vikings special teams unit in 2021, playing 342 snaps with that group. Perhaps special teams will eventually become his assignment with the Cardinals.

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Dec 5, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Brock Wright (89) makes a catch against Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Blake Lynch. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

Arizona’s roster moves arrive amid a visible panic by the franchise. In the offseason, Keim awarded quarterback Kyler Murray a gargantuan deal and has placed a dozen eggs in the basket of Murray, coupled with once-promising head coach Kliff Kingsbury. But through six weeks of 2022, Kingsbury is on the proverbial hot seat. In fact, Kingsbury “leads” the NFL in hot-seat odds, per sportsbooks, as the frontrunner to get fired first with -110 odds because of the Cardinals lugubrious performance.

Of course, the platter of Robbie Anderson, Rodrigo Blankenship, and Blake Lynch is unlikely to move the needle on the 2-4 record, but the transactions are something to combat Arizona’s nauseating start.

For now, Lynch will reside on the practice squad. He’d be called up if injuries hit the Cardinals linebacking corps, which includes Zaven Collins, Ben Niemann, Isaiah Simmons, Ezekiel Turner, and Tanner Vallejo.

The Cardinals also employ ex-Vikings linebacker Nick Vigil, who played in Minnesota last year, but he’s on injured reserve. Former Vikings Nate Hairston (CB) and Laquon Treadwell (WR) are also a part of the Cardinals practice squad.

The 5-2 Vikings take on these same Cardinals in Week 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium after Minnesota’s bye week.

Arizona’s defense ranks 20th in the NFL per DVOA.




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).