Vikings Rookie Signs Deal on His Birthday

Vikings Top Pick from Each Day of 2022 NFL Draft 
Akayleb Evans

The 118th selection of the draft, Akayleb Evans, is the eighth of ten Vikings draft picks to sign his rookie contract. On Wednesday, he turned 23 and signed a four-year $4.42 million contract with a $761,077 signing bonus. The important number for fans is that he will count $895,269 against the cap in 2022, which is negligible.

The cornerback is now under contract for four seasons. As a fourth-round pick, he is expected to be part of the roster for the length of his contract and contribute to some extent. At first, he’ll be a backup and depth piece. However, that role could expand rather quickly.

Evans was the player that excited the new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah when he watched his tape in the night.

If he’s right about his draft pick, he could be a big steal. Another sign of his excitement for the player is that he traded up to get him.

The rookie instantly became a fan favorite because he engaged with fans on Twitter. Besides that, he posts many pictures of his cute bunny, Benji.

Great Potential

Evans is a phenomenal athlete who needs some refinement in the technique. Veteran Patrick Peterson is a potential mentor for the rookie. A player of his pedigree is the perfect person to ask about some help, as he’s an eight-time Pro Bowler.

Evans has to compete with him, Cameron Dantzler, Harrison Hand, Kris Boyd, and fellow rookie Andrew Booth Jr for playing time, while Chandon Sullivan and Nate Hairston are expected to compete for the vacant slot cornerback position. At this point, Paterson and Dantzler are the front runners to start outside.

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie Evans started his college career in Tulsa, where he was one of the best players in the AAC. As a result, he transferred to Missouri. In the SEC, he had to get used to competing against great players. He apparently did a great job, as PFF graded his play with the above-average grade of 75.5.

He has to improve his discipline against the run and has to play less physically to draw fewer penalties, but his movement skills make him an excellent prospect and a potential sleeper to even become a starting cornerback for the Vikings a few years down the road.

At the combine, he opened eyes with his length of 6’2″ combined with a 4.46 40-yard dash.

His prototypical combination of speed and size will be a problem for receivers in the NFL if he can fix some flaws. In addition, Evans is a perfect scheme fit for defensive coordinator Ed Donatell´s defense which will only help him.


Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt