Vikings CB Is Making a Roster Decision Awfully Tricky

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings will cut about 24 players on August 29th, sending two dozen men to free agency. About 14 players will join the practice squad. Fifty-three men will make the active roster, and the regular season will kick off on September 10th.

Vikings CB Is Making a Roster Decision Awfully Tricky

That’s the state of play for the Vikings and the NFL as of August 20, with preseason in full swing. Minnesota lost Saturday night at home to the Tennessee Titans, the club’s fifth-consecutive preseason loss of the Kevin O’Connell era.

And one man, in particular, is making a roster-battle decision rather tricky, evidenced in two preseason games. He is NaJee Thompson, a cornerback, who also appears to be a special teams demigod.

Decision Awfully
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

On the Vikings first depth chart released a couple of weeks ago, Thompson lived here:

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Akayleb Evans
CB3: Andrew Booth
CB4: Joejuan Williams
CB5: Mekhi Blackmon
CB6: Kalon Barnes
CB7: Jaylin Williams
CB8: Tay Gowan
CB9: NaJee Thompson
CB10: C.J. Coldon

Georgia Southern’s NaJee Thompson (6) gets his hand on a pass, causing it to fall incomplete to a Georgia State receiver in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. © [FRANK FORTUNE/SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS] / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Thompson ‘should’ be a somewhat anonymous roster name destined for a practice squad assignment. But through two preseason games, that is not the case — at all.

The young defender pulled this off on Saturday night against the Titans:

And it wasn’t an outlier.

Georgia Southern receiver NaJee Thompson (26) celebrates with cornerback Monquavion Brinson (4) after intercepting a Clemson pass during the 1st quarter Saturday, September 15, 2018, at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. © BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff.

During the first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, too, Thompson posted flashy special teams transactions.

VikingsTerritory’s Janik Eckardt chronicled Thompson’s summer emergence last week and hinted at a 53-man roster spot, “And one thing is sure, Vikings’ special teams coordinator Matt Daniels will pound the table for one undrafted rookie when it comes to roster cuts in a few weeks. Cornerback NaJee Thompson has turned heads with his incredible prowess to help the special teams crew.”

Thompson spent five years at Georgia Southen from 2018 to 2022, tallying 54 games played, 84 total tackles, 12 passed defended, and 2 interceptions. He was on the field all the time in college. That experience could translate to a Vikings roster spot as early as September.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports.

When one predicts and crunches a 53-man roster prediction for the purple team, very few ‘available’ places exist for an extra player like Thompson. With his special team heroism, however, it will essentially feel criminal to leave Thompson off the list, especially after a player like Kris Boyd left this offseason via free agency.

Thompson turned 23 last month.

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).

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