Vikings Defender Heads to New Orleans

Explained: A Saints-Vikings Week 4 Starter Kit
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The New Orleans Saints navigated [what seemed to be] a transitional year in 2022, experiencing life without Drew Brees for a second year and no Sean Payton on the sidelines for the first time since 2005.

Dennis Allen filled the franchise’s head coaching duties and fired up a semi-respectable 7-10 win-loss record in his first season. It is unclear who will hold QB1 duties in 2023 — Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, neither, both, or someone else.

Vikings Defender Heads to New Orleans

One lesser significant player who will now be linked to the organization for the foreseeable future is former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ryan Connelly.

Vikings Defender Heads
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Mike Triplett from tweeted Thursday, “Saints signed WR Kawaan Baker, LB Ryan Connelly, TE Miller Forristall, and K Alex Quevedo to reserve/future deals.”

An Eden Prarie native, Connelly joined the Vikings in 2020 after getting drafted by the New York Giants in 2019 and released by Joe Judge’s team in September 2020. The linebacker latched onto the Vikings soon after and remained in Minnesota’s roster orbit for three full seasons.

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With the Vikings, Connelly was primarily a special teams contributor, participating on 427 plays in 27 games. He logged 16 defensive snaps in three years with the organization and will now hope to carve out a special teams role in New Orleans. Connelly logged 30 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack in Minnesota.

Connelly was injured last summer, activated when healthy in the fall, waived in October, and re-signed to the practice squad a day later. Such is life for an NFL practice squad personality at times.

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At Wisconsin from 2015 to 2018, Connelly played 44 games, logging 251 total tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 5 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and a touchdown. He was also named 3rd-Team All-Big Ten in 2018.

At Eden Praire, Connelly played quarterback, producing 14 touchdowns and no interceptions as a senior. The Eagles won three Minnesota Class 6A football state championships with Connelly on the roster.

Connelly is the only ex-Viking currently on the Saints roster. New Orleans’ co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen interviewed for the Vikings open DC job this week.

After Connelly’s departure — the Vikings chose not to extend him a futures contract — Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye, and William Kwenkeu remain at linebacker. The linebacking group is expected to undergo some offseason roster upheaval.

Connelly is 27.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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