Steelers Drop Former Vikings CB

May 24, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers helmets are seen as the team participates in organized team activities at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

Until this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers employed three Minnesota Vikings cornerbacks from the 2022 season — Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, and Kalon Barnes.

The Steelers are 2-1 through three games, while the Vikings are scraping the NFL’s bottom barrel at 0-3.

Steelers Drop Former Vikings CB

But the Steelers said sayonara to one of those corners Tuesday. KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweeted Tuesday, “Steelers released Kalon Barnes from practice squad.”

Steelers Drop
Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Abraham Beauplan (39) and cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) and safety Theo Jackson (25) lead the team onto the field before the game against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes joined the Steelers practice squad about a week and a half ago, so the relationship was brief. The Green Bay Packers also worked out Barnes in early September, but no deal came together. Barnes joined a haven of ex-Vikings that included head coach Mike Tomlin, the aforementioned Peterson and Sullivan, plus center Mason Cole and defensive lineman Armon Watts. A mini-Vikings party, indeed, for 11 days.

Barnes, 24, was on the outside looking in during Vikings roster trimdowns last month and did not get an invitation to the practice squad like 16 others.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (13) tries to make a catch over Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) during practice in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Last December, the Vikings grabbed Barnes from the Miami Dolphins practice squad. He experienced special teams action down the stretch of 2022 for the Vikings against the New York Giants (regular season game) and Chicago Bears. The Baylor alumnus was then retained by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah this offseason and battled for a roster spot at training camp and in the preseason, to no avail.

Pro Football Network ranked the league’s fastest players in July, and Barnes made the cut — at No. 2. His 4.23 forty at the 2022 NFL Combine was the fastest by any defensive player in the event’s history.

Vikings Sign One of Fastest Players in NFL History
Jun 15, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Kalon Barnes (35) at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

During the draft process, few traits excite onlookers more than speed. Of course, the track record for “fastest guy in the draft” rarely translates to automatic stardom in the pros. But the sizzle of a team adding a weapon with comic-book speed is indeed enchanting. Sizzling speed is Barnes’ dance. Barnes played all four years at Baylor, tallying 3 interceptions in 35 collegiate games.

The other two cornerbacks in Pittsburgh are performing at different levels. Peterson, through three games, has fired up a commendable 72.8 Pro Football Focus grade, akin to his production in Minnesota last year. Sullivan, on the other hand, has produced a menial 47.2 PFF score through Week 3.

On Peterson and Sullivan, that’s basically a repeat of 2022.

Purple Rumor Mill: A New Speed Goblin, Mike Zimmer and Colorado, Dantzler
Nov 16, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears cornerback Grayland Arnold (1) and Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) in action during the game between the Bears and the Sooners at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes’ speed should generate a practice squad invitation from another NFL team before too long.


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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