Ex-Vikings Defender Hits Free Agency

Former Viking Joins Andre Patterson in New York
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Minnesota’s 2018 draft class, under the reign of former general manager Rick Spielman, produced one star player — Brian O’Neill — and was a mixed bag besides that.

Ex-Vikings Defender Hits Free Agency

Of course, tight end Tyler Conklin was a solid player in 2021, his final season in Minnesota, before he moved on to sign a lucrative deal with the New York Jets. First-rounder Mike Hughes didn’t pan out mainly because of injuries, and the team wasn’t patient enough with Daniel Carlson.

Most Vikings fans have already forgotten Colby Gossett, Ade Aruna, and Devante Downs, although offensive guard Gossett had some success in recent years with the Atlanta Falcons. The third pick in that draft, coming in the fourth round — Jalyn Holmes — was just released from the Chicago Bears, according to Aaron Wilson.

Ex-Vikings Defender Hits Free Agency
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The defensive lineman came out of Ohio State to the Vikings and was a strange draft pick. A decorated defensive lineman from the Buckeyes, appearing in every game in a three-year stretch, earning All-Conference honors but doesn’t hear his name called until the fourth round?

Well, he was kind of a tweener without a real position. He wasn’t quite fast enough to be a 4-3 defensive end but was too small to be a defensive tackle. He also struggled to star on Ohio State’s stacked line beside Joey Bosa.

Holmes only infrequently appeared in the lineup of Mike Zimmer’s defense, playing in five games as a rookie and six as a sophomore. His largest role came in 2020 after Everson Griffen left in free agency and Danielle Hunter got hurt. The defender started nine games and played in 14, logging 617 snaps.

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Despite his big role in the struggling defense, Holmes barely made an impact, failing to record a single sack. He only made 36 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. The Vikings cut the defender after the 2021 preseason after three seasons. He managed to sack the quarterback only one time with the team.

His tenure with the Vikings was followed by eight games with the Saints and one with the Bears in the next two seasons. His career sack total is still stuck at one.

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Also interesting is the reason why he was released. The Bears needed to clear a roster spot to sign Yannick Ngakoue, also a former Viking. Ngakoue is known for two things: he is a fantastic pass rusher, and his run defense is a liability. The Vikings witnessed it firsthand when he infamously led the team in sacks in 2020 despite only playing six games. He recorded 5 sacks that season for the Vikings and 3 more in Baltimore after the trade.

If he can help the Bears improve defensively remains to be seen. He is a one-trick pony but is very good at performing that trick. In 110 career games, Ngakoue produced 65 sacks, and he has never had a season with fewer than 8 in his seven-year career.

Holmes is 27 years old and hopes to find a new team sooner rather than later.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. 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