Former Vikings + Gophers Defender Reportedly Joining Jaguars

Dec 28, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings revealed an initial 53-man roster on Tuesday and a 12-man practice squad on Wednesday, with the regular season now a week and a half away.

Former Vikings + Gophers Defender Reportedly Joining Jaguars

Last year’s rookie, Esezi Otomewo, was absent from both lists, a defensive tackle drafted by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah 16 months ago.

And now the former Gopher-turned-Viking will reportedly join the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. He tweeted Thursday, “Former Vikings DL Esezi Otomewo, a fifth-round pick last year, is expected to sign to the Jaguars’ practice squad, per source.”

Gophers Defender
Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Esezi Otomewo (90) takes the field during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Otomewo will get a fresh start in a brand new conference and be a promotion away from the Jaguars regular season roster. For most of the summer, the young defender lived directly on the Vikings roster bubble and appeared to miss the cut because of this year’s rookie Jaquelin Roy, who made the active roster.

The former Gopher was plucked out of the 5th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft by Adofo-Mensah, late-round fruit of trades with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. The Draft Network called Otomewo “an intriguing developmental defensive lineman that offers prototypical size, length, and power to serve as a hand-in-the-dirt base end at the NFL level” leading up to the event.

Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Esezi Otomewo (90) and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) and linebacker Luiji Vilain (43) prepare to tackle Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The new Jaguar has Nigerian roots and played high school football in Indiana.

Otomewo began to see modest acclimation in the Vikings defense last year, appearing in 5 games and playing 89 defensive snaps. He was also on the field for 45 special teams plays. Pro Football Focus graded his small 2022 sample at 62.6.

Nov 27, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Gophers defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo (9) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

At the University of Minnesota, Otomewo played 34 games, notching 81 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. He’s a humongous man, standing 6’6″ and weighing 282 pounds. He majored in Business & Marketing Education. Exiting high school, Otomewo was considered by some draft scouts as the best EDGE rusher in the state of Indiana.

The Jaguars currently employ these defensive tackles ahead of Otomewo:

  • Roy Robertson-Harris
  • Folorunso Fatukasi
  • Tyler Lacy
  • Adam Gotsis
Nov 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo (9) celebrates with linebacker Cody Lindenberg (45) and defensive back Justus Harris (21) after making a tackle in the first half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports.

Otomewo received All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors in 2021. He was the second Adofo-Mensah draft pick to depart the Vikings after offensive tackle Vederian Lowe was traded to the New England Patriots last weekend.

He was the one man popularly forecasted by the Vikings fans to likely make the 2023 practice squad that ultimately did not. Otomewo turned 24 in March.

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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