Ex-Vikings Defender Claimed by Patriots

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The New England Patriots have struggled — for a while. Since Tom Brady left in 2020, the Patriots have ranked 21st in the NFL per win percentage (.435). New England, of course, ranked No. 1 in the business via wins and losses on Brady’s watch.

Ex-Vikings Defender Claimed by Patriots

Too, the once-dynastic Patriots are nearing mathematical elimination from the postseason, sitting in the AFC’s basement with a 2-10 record. If the 2024 NFL Draft occurred tonight, New England would pick second, all but certain to select Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

But on Thursday, mere hours before the Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium, New England added former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Christian Elliss, who was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week.

Claimed by Patriots
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov tweeted, “The Patriots claimed former Eagles LB Christian Elliss, so he goes from a 10-2 team to a 2-10 team.”

Indeed, Elliss essentially went from first to worst overnight, a rude reality of the NFL.

Any Lingering Kirk
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports.

The Eagles won the high-profile Leonard Sweepstakes this week, as the four-time All-Pro chose Philadelphia over Dallas. To make room for Leonard on the depth chart, the Eagles waived Elliss, who began his career as a Viking.

The Eagles used Elliss in the 2023 defense on 119 snaps and, on special teams, 238 plays. Linebacker Nakobe Dean hit injured reserve earlier this season, so Elliss saw a bit more action than expected.

Elliss was undrafted during the 2021 cycle, hitting free agency after the event and scooped by then-GM Rick Spielman. He stuck around for minicamp, training camp, and some of the preseason but was released on August 23rd, 2021.

Eagles Drop Former
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Two and a half weeks later, Elliss was signed to the Eagles practice squad, where he remained for a little over a month. Like the Vikings, Philadelphia cut Elliss, and he hit free agency yet again. On November 3rd, 2021, Elliss joined the San Francisco 49ers and remained for a week. A common theme for the man that season, he was dropped by San Francisco — and found his way back to the Eagles roster three days later.

He’s remained an Eagle for about two years, vacillating between the practice squad and active roster. Now, he’ll start anew in New England. Overall, the Idaho alumnus has played in 19 NFL games, starting one game to date and logging 35 tackles, primarily on special teams.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

This was the Patriots’ current linebacking corps before the Elliss addition:

  • Ja’Whaun Bentley
  • Jahlani Tavai
  • Mack Wilson Sr.
  • Marte Mapu
  • Chris Board
  • Joe Giles-Harris (PS)
  • Calvin Munson (PS)

The Patriots rank 15th in the league per defensive EPA/Play entering Week 13 and host the aforementioned Steelers on Thursday Night Football.

New England employs three other former Vikings: Vederian Lowe (OT), Jalen Reagor (WR), and Riley Reiff (OT, IR).


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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