The Vikings Lost a Cornerback on Wednesday

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The Minnesota Vikings defensive secondary looked porous and putrid on Sunday in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and on Wednesday, the cornerback depth shrunk.

The Vikings Lost a Cornerback on Wednesday

Via practice squad pilfer, the rival Chicago Bears grabbed veteran cornerback Joejuan Williams from the Vikings, a defender who will now live on the Bears active roster.

Lost a Cornerback
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NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “The Bears are signing CB Joejuan Williams off the Vikings practice squad and onto their 53-man roster, source said. A former Patriots second-rounder.”

All told, Williams was a member of the Vikings for about five months, signed last April, and will now play for the Bears, a team the Vikings face in 18 days.

3 Big
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Chicago is currently ravaged by CB injuries, with Kyler Gordon on injured reserve and Tyrique Stevenson + Jaylon Johnson also hampered. Like the Vikings, the Bears have an 0-3 record and probably still believe they can right the ship, starting this week in a game against the lowly Denver Broncos.

A 2nd-Round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams never quite took off with the New England Patriots, hence the lack of priority in extending him beyond a rookie deal. Williams lasted four seasons on Bill Belichick’s team but missed all of 2022 on injured reserve.

Salary Cap
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Since 2019, Williams has played in 36 games while starting one, tabulating 505 defensive snaps and experiencing action on 337 special teams plays. Because of the 2022 injury, he was basically a forgotten man as a Patriot and found his way to the Vikings as a roster-bubble candidate in April. He missed the cut but later returned to the practice squad — until Wednesday’s Bears theft.

Here’s Williams’ resume to date, per passer-rating-against since 2019:

  • 2019 = 56.8
  • 2020 = 79.7
  • 2021 = 96.8
  • 2022 = Injured
Minnesota Vikings CB Joejuan Williams addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Thursday, July 27, 2023. Williams joined the Vikings via free agency on April 23 and was a 2nd-Round draft pick by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots four years ago.

And, of course, the Pro Football Focus skinny:

  • 2019 = 67.8
  • 2020 = 55.5
  • 2021 = 66.6
  • 2022 = Injured

A shoulder injury derailed his fourth season as a pro, but he’ll likely experience regular season action in Chicago before too long. Without the aforementioned Gordon, Johnson, or Stevenson, the Bears would have to roll with CBs Terrell Smith, Jaylon Jones, and Greg Stroman Jr. If you know who all three of those men are, kudos to you.

The Bears defense ranks 30th leaguewide per DVOA through three games, three spots ahead of the Vikings at No. 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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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