Bears Steal Vikings Practice Squad Player

Former Vikings Player Signs with Bears
Nov 10, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Chicago Bears helmet. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports..

Like the Vikings, the Chicago Bears have not won a game in 2023. However, they also lost the final ten games in 2022 and extended their losing streak to 13 contests. Minnesota is still hopeful to compete for the playoffs this year. That hope is gone in Chicago, although the team was a true media darling in the offseason, expecting the breakout of quarterback Justin Fields.

Bears Steal Vikings Practice Squad Player

The organization lost a bunch of cornerbacks to injuries. Starter Kyler Gordon is on IR with a broken hand, Tyrique Stevenson left Sunday’s game with a concussion, and Jaylon Johnson suffered a hamstring injury.

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Joejuan Williams (29) covers Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jake Bobo (19) at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Because of those injuries, the Bears had to make a move. They poached a player from Minnesota’s practice squad. Joejuan Williams will suit up for the NFC North rivals from now on.

Ian Rapoport reported on X: “The Bears are signing CB Joejuan Williams off the Vikings practice squad and onto their 53-man roster, source said. A former Patriots second-rounder.”

Williams signed with the Vikings in free agency shortly before the draft arrived and gave the team at least a veteran body in the room. They had previously signed Byron Murphy to a big deal and still employed Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth, the two unproven draft choices from 2022.

With that trio, Kalon Barnes and Tay Gowan as the only CBs in the building, the Vikings needed depth, and Williams provided that. As a former New England Patriot, he came in with scheme familiarity, and it helped him secure first-team reps in offseason workouts, but he slipped down the depth chart in training camp and ended up as a surprise cut on cutdown day.

Minnesota stashed him on the practice squad, and in case of injuries, he certainly would’ve been active on game day, but the fact that he didn’t make the 53-man roster despite Minnesota’s shaky CB room is a discouraging sign.

Bears Steal Vikings Practice Squad Player
Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Standing 6’3″, Williams is a rare tall cornerback. The defender was a 2019 second-round pick of the New England Patriots, but he started only one game in his four-year tenure with the Patriots.

The cornerback appeared in 36 games in Bill Belichick’s operation and was on the field for 505 snaps on defense and 337 with the special teams. A shoulder injury suffered in August forced him to miss the 2022 season, his fourth, on injured reserve. He is still only 25 years old and couldn’t reach the expectations the Patriots had for him. His stint with the Bears will be his third chance in the NFL.

The Vikings will likely try to replace him on the practice squad to have some veteran depth available. Undrafted rookie Jaylin Williams and C.J. Coldon Jr. are the two remaining cornerbacks on the practice squad, and the active roster is also thin at the position.

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (11) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) talk during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota employs Murphy, Evans, and Booth. They also added Mekhi Blackmon in the third round of the draft and have special teams demon NaJee Thompson, who is technically a cornerback but shouldn’t be expected to line up on defense anytime soon.

Safeties Jay Ward and Camryn Bynum played cornerback in college and could be used there in emergencies, while Josh Metellus has been used fairly often as the slot cornerback under Brian Flores’ tutelage.

The purple teams faces the Bears in Week 6, and if the injuries continue to pile up, there is a good chance that Minnesota’s dynamic wideouts will line up across from their former teammate, a matchup the Vikings will gladly take.

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