Ex-Vikings Safety Heads to Cleveland

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams make all kinds of moves during the preseason, changing bottom-of-the-roster players, replacing injured guys, and trying to upgrade at some positions. The Vikings signed linebacker and special teams ace Tanner Vallejo on Sunday. Cleveland, meanwhile, signed another former Viking.

Ex-Vikings Safety Heads to Cleveland

Ex-Vikings Safety Heads to Cleveland
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, the former boss of Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, can’t stop adding former Vikings players. The latest signing is safety Nate Meadors who was with the Vikings for two seasons.

Meadors tweeted: “I’ve been chasing this dream of mine for the past 5 years; thru the highs and lows I’m thankful God still continues to give me opportunities to do what I love to do! #unfinishedbusiness”

The safety went undrafted in 2019. Coming out of UCLA, he signed with the Vikings, and his long journey with many destinations began. In 2019, he was signed to the practice squad after not making the roster, but he still ended up on the active roster a couple of times, appearing in two games.

Fresno State running back Jordan Mims runs into UCLA defensive back Nate Meadors at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, September 15, 2018. 636726736272434327-0915-FBC-FSU-UCLA-7218.jpg

One year later in 2020, Meadors was once again stashed on the practice squad, but he was released a couple of weeks into the season, playing in one more game. Throughout his time in Minnesota, Meadors contributed in three games, logging 11 defensive snaps and 37 on special teams — his only snaps in the NFL.

He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in October 2020 to be a part of their practice squad, and he was active in the contest against the Vikings but didn’t play. The Jaguars waived him in May, and he joined the Philadelphia Eagles, who released him in August after he sustained an injury.

His next stint led him to the practice squad of his current team, where he spent part of the 2021 season but was waived during the preseason in 2022. The Tennessee Titans signed him to their practice squad leading up to Week 18 in 2022. He also had one month with the New York Giants. The St. Louis Battlehawks drafted him to play in the XFL.

In the XFL, Meadors started eight games, playing in nine total. He caught two interceptions and made 37 tackles. The Browns still know him from his nine months with the team in 2021 and 2022. Now 26 years old, Meadors is fighting to keep his dream alive. His first test could come on Thursday when the Browns play in Philadelphia to face one of Meador’s former teams, the Eagles.

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) gets sacked by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith. © JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Browns employ a plethora of former Minnesotans: Za’Darius Smith, who they traded for earlier in the offseason, Dalvin Tomlinson signed a huge deal with them, and Kellen Mond is trying to learn how to be a professional quarterback, with limited success. Colby Gossett was a 2018 draft pick and is a depth guard for the Browns. Of course, Kevin Stefanski, a longtime Vikings coach, is the head coach in Cleveland.

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