A Former Viking Is the Beneficiary of an Injury

about Dalvin Cook
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The ex-Vikings have had mixed success in their next stops. Dalvin Cook clearly lost a step and is just a minor contributor to New York’s bad offense. Adam Thielen, meanwhile, is the top option in Carolina’s passing game and produces big numbers. However, the Panthers are the worst team in the league, per their record.

A Former Viking Is the Beneficiary of an Injury

After spending their careers with the Vikings, both players were released in the offseason. The team decided to move on to save some cap space, and both actions will likely go down in the history books as good decisions.

A Former Viking Is the Beneficiary of an Injury
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Another player on his second team is offensive guard Ezra Cleveland. The 2020 second-round selection was traded to Jacksonville just before the trade deadline arrived. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah received a sixth-round pick in return for a player who will become a free agent in March, and the signing of Dalton Risner made him expendable.

His career as a Jaguar didn’t start well, as he was just sitting on the bench during his first game. In his second contest, he got some reps in place of starting left guard Walker Little. With left tackle Cam Robinson leaving Week 12 with a knee injury, Little slid over to left tackle, opening the spot for Cleveland.

Vikings TE Gets
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Robinson is out for 3-6 weeks, so Cleveland should continue to play left guard for the Jaguars, a team in the driver’s seat of the AFC South with a two-game lead over the Colts and Texans. In his first significant action with his new team, Cleveland made a fantastic play when he blocked down the field on a big screen pass, drawing the attention of Brian Baldinger, who praised him for his effort.

Cleveland was a left tackle in college and was drafted at a time when Minnesota’s offensive line was struggling, although the tackles Brian O’Neill and Riley Reiff were the strong suit of the line. Head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff decided to move Cleveland to right guard, where he started nine games in his debut season.

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He then moved to left guard in his sophomore campaign and has stayed there since, starting another 40 games with the Vikings. Cleveland turned into a solid player, improving every season. His strength is the running game, perhaps a reason why the Vikings chose to keep Dalton Risner instead who is a pass-blocker by nature.

The veteran will turn 26 in May, and he will have a market once he enters free agency, with most teams looking for offensive line help. It is also quite possible that the Jaguars will sign him to a new contract and keep him around. He now has a few weeks during Robinson’s absence to make his case to keep his starting job.

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