Stolen Viking Had a Short Stint in Chicago

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The Chicago Bears are in the midst of another lost season, especially after losing to the Vikings in Week 6 and falling to a 1-5 record right after coming away with a victory in the previous game. However, the good news for the Bears fans is that they are on pace to have two high draft picks. They also own the selection of the Carolina Panthers who are 0-6.

Stolen Viking Had a Short Stint in Chicago

Stolen Viking Had a Short Stint in Chicago
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The current roster put together by general manager Ryan Poles is a mess. A lack of difference-makers and depth doesn’t lead a competitive team. In addition to that, the Bears struggled to stay healthy which is why the franchise stole a player from Minnesota’s practice squad.

Poles signed Joejuan Williams to the active roster on September 27. He appeared in three games, logging eight snaps on defense and 32 on special teams while providing important depth in Chicago’s secondary in case of another injury. He also faced the Vikings where he produced a holding penalty on special teams, actually helping his former employer.

On Friday, the Bears released the veteran defensive back according to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson on X, making him an unrestricted free agent. He is now looking for a new job on a cornerback-needy team. Potentially, he has to settle for another stint on someone’s practice squad. This is where the Vikings could be interested in reuniting with a player who is familiar with the scheme, the coaches, and the teammates.

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Standing 6’3″, Williams is a rare tall cornerback, making him an intriguing player. The defender was a 2019 second-round pick of the New England Patriots, but he started only one game in his four-year tenure with the team.

The cornerback appeared in 36 games in Bill Belichick’s operation and was on the field for 505 snaps on defense and 337 with the special teams. A shoulder injury suffered in August forced him to miss the 2022 season, his fourth, on injured reserve. He is still only 25 years old and couldn’t reach the expectations the Patriots had for him.

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Williams was a surprise cut on final cutdown day when the Vikings opted to keep only five cornerbacks, although one of them was special teams player NaJee Thompson. The veteran actually opened training camp getting some snaps with the first team but lost that spot to Akayleb Evans who has been playing on the outside with Byron Murphy. Both have been decent CBs.

Behind them, the Vikings employ Mekhi Blackmon, a rookie out of USC, and sophomore second-rounder Andrew Booth. Blackmon was the first guy off the bench in the first few games but Booth received snaps against the Bears after continuously practicing well.

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The Vikings have played well on defense in some games while struggling in others. But surprisingly, the cornerbacks haven’t been a big issue in Minnesota. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores has changed the mindset of the defense, implementing an aggressive philosophy.

No other team has blitzed more often than the Vikings. That approach puts the coverage players in a tough situation as they often have to cover without safety help. The results have been mixed. Justin Herbert and his favorite target Keenan Allen certainly solved that problem of facing pressure while Bryce Young and Justin Fields struggled.

Williams is 25 years old and once again looking for a new job.

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