Eagles Drop Former Vikings Defender

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Shaquille Leonard is in for the Philadelphia Eagles, and a former Minnesota Vikings defender is out.

The Eagles won the high-profile Leonard Sweepstakes this week, as the four-time All-Pro chose Philadelphia over Dallas.

Eagles Drop Former Vikings Defender

To make room for Leonard on the depth chart, the Eagles waived Christian Elliss, who began his career as a Viking.

The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov tweeted Wednesday, “The Eagles waived LB Christian Elliss, who started on Sunday vs. the 49ers and had six tackles.”

Eagles Drop Former
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Elliss could be added back to Philadelphia’s practice squad if he clears waivers — teams use this process frequently — but for now, he’ll hit waivers and perhaps the open free-agent market.

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. It is unclear if Elliss will be claimed off waivers, hit free agency, or return to the Eagles’ practice squad.

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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.

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.

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He’s remained an Eagle for about two years, twisting and turning between the practice squad and active roster. Now, he’ll hope to latch onto a different team or revert to the Eagles for their impending playoff push.

Overall, the Idaho alumnus has played in 19 NFL games, starting one game to date and logging 35 tackles, primarily on special teams.

This is the Eagles’ current linebacking corps sans Elliss:

  • Shaquille Leonard
  • Zach Cunningham
  • Nicholas Morrow
  • Ben VanSumeren

In the last six weeks, the Eagles have produced the NFL’s second-worst defense per EPA/Play, only outpaced [in a bad way] by the Washington Commanders.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni in the first half as the Philadelphia Eagles came to East Rutherford, NJ, and defeated their division rivals, the New York Giants, 48-22 on December 11, 2022. Philadelphia Eagles Came To East Rutherford, NJ, And Defeat Their Division Rivals, The New York Giants, On December 11, 2022. © Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Philadelphia, presumably without Elliss, travels to Dallas this weekend for a date with the Cowboys. First place in the NFC East is at stake. And if the Cowboys win while the San Francisco 49ers lose to the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas would inhabit the NFC’s No. 1 seed.


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.