Former Viking Became a Champion Saturday Night

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A where were you when moment to be sure, a former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman took home XFL glory Saturday night.

Willie Beavers and his Arlington Renegades won the 2023 XFL Championship game in San Antonio, Texas. Bob Stoops’ Renegades disposed of the DC Defenders, 35-26, marking the first championship of the rebooted XFL brand.

Former Viking Became a Champion Saturday Night

Vikings fans remember Beavers from seven years ago when he joined the club in the 4th Round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He never panned out, but we’ll be damned if he isn’t an XFL legend now.

Became a Champion
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The XFL re-formed in 2020, a victim of ming-bogglingly bad timing with the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Vince McMahon and his camp relaunched the league, started to regenerate excitement and buzz, and then the world shut down. Fast forward to 2023, and the league has finally crowned a king, and somewhere on the trophy, Beavers can be etched.

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Beavers popped up briefly on last summer’s radar, signing with the Washington Commanders in June but was released in October. He’s also encountered NFL stints with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, plus the Vikings and Commanders. Beavers usually lives on a practice squad when he makes a roster, and in fact, has played just 11 regular season snaps in the NFL since 2016.

The 29-year-old is memorable to Vikings fans for a couple of reasons: a) He shares a name with the dam-building mammal b) Back in 2016, Beavers was theorized as a possible starting solution to the Vikings longstanding offensive line problem.

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Beavers did not pan out as a starting tackle — and Minnesota never really fixed the aforementioned OL pass-protection problem until Kevin O’Connell arrived 15 months ago and sparked improvement. However, in the XFL as a left tackle, Beavers’ luck has evidently turned around.

The Western Michigan alumnus spent four years at the school from 2011 to 2015 and won Second Team All-MAC honors in 2014 and First Team All-MAC honors in 2015.

Semi-notable former NFL punter Marquette King is also on the Renegades roster and is now a champion, too.

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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