Unproven Vikings Defender Is Not Happy with YOU

Image Courtesy of Tay Gowan on Twitter.

During the draft and the tumultuous days leading up to the event, other roster news is unimportant and easily overlooked.

For instance, last year’s defensive starter Chandon Sullivan joined Patrick Peterson in Pittsburgh. He appeared in every game last season and was on the field for the fourth-most defensive snaps.

Other news for the defensive backs on the roster? The arrival of a couple more players, Jay Ward and Mekhi Blackmon. The latter is an outside cornerback, and Ward is a safety and might take over for Sullivan in the slot.

Unproven Vikings Defender Is Not Happy with YOU

Unproven Vikings Defender Is Not Happy With You
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

The new guys on the team are promising. They were handpicked by Brian Flores, the new defensive coordinator in Minnesota. However, a different Vikings CB feels disrespected. Defender Tay Gowan tweeted Saturday, deep in the heart of the draft:

It’s unclear why Gowan was fed up with the fans of his organization. He might’ve read some comments on the social network about the underwhelming Vikings CB group.

You might think — he’s right. Who actually is Tay Gowan? Well, here are some facts about the apparently unknown defender.

Gowan turned 25 in January and was born in Georgia. During his college years, Gowan played in Miami (Ohio), Butler Community College, and UCF. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cardinals picked him in the sixth round with the 223rd overall pick.

The young defensive back spent his rookie year in Arizona but didn’t appear in a game. When the Cardinals traded for tight end Zach Ertz, they sent Gowan and a fifth-rounder in return. Gowan played in two games for the Eagles and was on the field for 32 special team snaps and 44 on defense in the 2021 season.

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The cornerback didn’t make the 53-man roster and was waived before the 2022 season. The Vikings signed him to their practice squad two days later. Gowan was elevated for three games and helped the special teams on 15 plays but didn’t play on defense. After his season in Minnesota, he signed a futures contract with the franchise, essentially a one-year contract for the 2023 campaign. Gowan has good size at 6-1 and 188 pounds, and he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Like in the past, Gowan will have a tough time contributing to the 2023 Vikings. At the end of the day, it is a numbers game. Last year, Minnesota had six cornerbacks on the initial 53-man roster when Gowan signed with the practice squad. That included special teams ace Kris Boyd.

Byron Murphy has a safe spot as the team’s top free-agent signing. He will be the CB1 for the Vikings this season. Third-round selection Mekhi Blackmon also doesn’t have to be scared to be released. Third-rounders never get released before their rookie seasons.

Last year’s rookies, Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans, take up two more spots. Booth was a second-rounder, and the jury is still out because he missed most of his debut season injured. Evans played well on the field and has a chance to be the second starting CB. Both are too talented to be let go.

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s already four spots filled. The rookie Ward should be counted as a cornerback, especially because he is a candidate, at this point even the top candidate, to be the team’s nickel cornerback.

The final spot will go to someone who can help the special teams the most. That player could be Joejuan Williams, who the team signed a couple of weeks before the draft. He has the experience of 337 career special teams snaps and 505 on defense.

Even another signing shouldn’t be ruled out at either outside CB or in the slot. The Vikings might add another veteran to the group filled with young guys. The final one of those young guys is Kalon Barnes, a 2022 seventh-rounder. He ran a 4.23 40-yard dash, and the Vikings could be intrigued by his athleticism.

Though it will be hard for Gowan to crack the 53-man roster, you can now officially say you know who he is. When watching the preseason games, look for the defensive back with jersey number 31.

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