Texans Claim Just-Waived Vikings Lineman

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The Minnesota Vikings continue to make moves by signing free-agent players and swapping depth players in the hope that one guy will stick. Tanner Vallejo was signed on Sunday, and injured linebacker William Kwenkeu was waived to make room for him. Also signed was former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Chim Okorafor.

Texans Claim Just-Waived Vikings Lineman

To make room for him, the corresponding move was to waive undrafted rookie offensive tackle Jacky Chen, disappointing for fans who wanted him to succeed but more because of his name and how close it is to that of actor Jackie Chan than his actual football skills.

Texans Claim Just Waived Vikings Lineman
Image Courtesy of Vikings.com.

Like all waived players, Chen hit the waivers, and every team had the chance to claim him. The last draft order is the waiver order, and the Texans were awarded his rights, so he made it to the second spot – only the Chicago Bears passed on him.

Chen went undrafted and signed with the Vikings. Of course, his goal was to either make the team or land a spot on the practice squad, but that didn’t happen, and his time in Houston starts that clock again.

The offensive lineman faced an uphill battle from the get-go as a Division II player in college. He attended Pace University in New York, where he is from. Chen is the son of Chinese immigrants who didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year in high school and with a Division II history, so his story is that of a true underdog — something fans always root for.

The newest Texan is an undersized tackle at 6’5″ and roughly 300 lbs. In fact, he has always been undersized for an offensive lineman, as he received his scholarship at Pace at only 240 lbs. It took him one year in college, and he gained enough weight to turn into a dominant lineman at 285 lbs.

The writing for his release was on the wall when he didn’t even see the field in the first preseason contest despite the shaky performance of the third-string offensive tackles Christian DiLauro and Jarrid Williams.

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He will now try to make the team or practice squad in Houston, and the chances are better there on one of the league’s worst teams because those usually lack depth, although one of their backup tackles is recently signed tackle George Fant who is perhaps one of the top backups in the league.

Starting tackles Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard are both recovering from injuries which is why Chen has a good chance to make his NFL preseason debut soon.

The Vikings, meanwhile, await the return of Pro Bowl tackle Brian O’Neill for the season opener in less than four weeks to form the elite OT tandem with Christian Darrisaw. He recently made a big step in his recovery when he took part in team practice for the first time.

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Behind them, the Vikings employ Oli Udoh as the top backup on the right side and sophomore Vederian Lowe on the left side. Former swing tackle backup Blake Brandel was moved to guard.

If Chen can stay with the Texans, he will face the Vikings in 2024. The Texans also have former Vikings preseason star Mike Boone and fan-favorite Case Keenum under contract.

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