Speedy Ex-Viking Joins Jets

Vikings 2021 3rd-Round LB Lands in New York
Sep 12, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York Jets helmets.Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Since departing the Minnesota Vikings at the end of the summer, cornerback Kalon Barnes has worked out for the Green Bay Packers, played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a week and a half, and now joined the New York Jets practice squad.

Speedy Ex-Viking Joins Jets

KPRC2‘s Aaron Wilson tweeted Tuesday, “Jets sign Craig James, Tae Hayes, and Kalon Barnes to the practice squad, released Cedric Ogbuehi, Chris Glaser and Nehemiah Shelton from the practice squad.”

Viking Joins Jets
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.

Interestingly, Craig James and Tae Hayes also had brief stints in purple, but not as recent as Barnes, who departed the squad on August 28th.

Barnes, 24, was on the outside looking in during Vikings roster trimdowns five weeks ago and did not get an invitation to the practice squad like 16 others. The Vikings grabbed him 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.

Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (13) runs after the catch as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) looks to make the tackle during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

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.

During the draft lead-up, few qualities exhilarate 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 gazelle speed is indeed enchanting. Sizzling speed is Barnes’ dance. Barnes played all four years at Baylor, tallying 3 interceptions in 35 collegiate games.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (13) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Jay Ward (20) and cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Draft Network described Barnes’ game heading into the 2022 NFL Draft: “Barnes is primarily a zone corner that will tend to play with a tight cushion in his bail technique because he knows he is fast. Thornton has the make-up speed to catch up with receivers even when he waits too long to flip his hips and run. Barnes still has parts of his game that need to be developed and early in his NFL career, he will be best served to go to a defensive scheme that runs zone principles that he is familiar with from his time at Baylor.”

In New York, Barnes joins a team, like the Vikings, hoping to rectify a 1-3 start. Aaron Rodgers was lost to an Achilles injury four plays into the regular season, and after winning the Week 1 showdown against the Buffalo Bills, the Jets are winless.

These are the Jets current cornerbacks:

  • Sauce Garnder
  • D.J. Reed
  • Michael Carter II
  • Bryce Hall
  • Justin Hardee
PFF Has a New WR
Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnes now rounds out the CB group with Hayes and James on the practice squad.

The Jets also employ former Vikings Dalvin Cook (RB), Tyler Conklin (TE), Jalyn Holmes (DL), Ifeadi Odenigbo (EDGE, IR), Trevor Siemian (QB), and Chazz Surratt (LB).

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.