Vikings Add a Player, Waive One on Sunday

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo (51) against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

In 16 days, the Minnesota Vikings and 31 NFL teams will prune rosters from 90 players to 53. One preseason week is in the books, and injuries arose, prompting some clubs to tweak rosters.

Vikings Add a Player, Waive One on Sunday

That affected the Vikings, who waived off-ball linebacker William Kwenkeu on Sunday with an injury designation and signed veteran defender Tanner Vallejo.

Waive One
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) turns the corner on Arizona Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo (51) during the third quarter at State Farm Stadium December 15, 2019. © Michael Chow/The Republic, Arizona Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Kwenkeu will likely rejoin the team after clearing waivers and hit the injured reserve, although confirmation on that theory is a few days away.

On Vallejo, he joins a linebacker room headlined by Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah, UDFA Ivan Pace, and others. Like many free agents joining teams in recent days, Vallejo is a longshot to make the regular season roster, but he’ll learn his fate in a little over two weeks.

Aug 29, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo (48) in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s Vallejo’s resume to date:

  • Buffalo Bills (2017)
  • Cleveland Browns (2018)
  • Arizona Cardinals (2019)
  • Washington Redskins (2019)
  • Arizona Cardinals (2019–2022)

Vallejo has played over 75 defensive snaps in four separate seasons, and here’s his Pro Football Focus resume from those campaigns:

  • 2018 = 39.4
  • 2020 = 67.0
  • 2021 = 35.0
  • 2022 = 41.1

So, you know, not a serious threat to start — or anything close to it.

Aug 26, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Tanner Vallejo (40) on a play during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

With Vallejo in the building in Eagan, the Vikings maintain eight off-ball linebackers at the moment:

MLB1: Brian Asamoah
MLB2: Troy Dye
MLB3: Abraham Beauplan
MLB4: Tanner Vallejo

WLB1: Jordan Hicks
WLB2: Troy Reeder
WLB3: Ivan Pace Jr.
WLB4: Wilson Huber

Vallejo has predominantly filled special teams roles during his six seasons, tabulating 1,535 special teams snaps since 2017, with 683 appearances on defensive plays. If he somehow seizes a roster spot, it will probably be as a special teamer.

Nov 12, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Deon Lacey (44), linebacker Tanner Vallejo (40), fullback Patrick DiMarco (42) and quarterback Joe Webb (14) on special teams duty during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings defense struggled in 2022, allowing the 30th-most points to opponents and ranking 31st in yards allowed. The club still won the NFC North but made a drastic change four days after losing in the playoffs at home to the New York Giants, firing 2022 defensive bossman Ed Donatell. Brian Flores of Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Pittsburgh Steelers fame was hired to replace Donatell, and he’ll hope to right the ship with younger and more affordable players. Throughout the offseason, Minnesota said goodbye to veterans like Eric Kendricks, Patrick Peterson, Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Duke Shelley, among others.

Vallejo, 28, was a college teammate to current Vikings RB1 Alexander Mattison at Boise State.

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