Former Viking Latches onto Jacksonville Jaguars

Next Team for Danielle
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

First, it was former Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Golden Gophers defender Esezi Otomewo.

Now, it’s Ross Blacklock. Both men have joined the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad in the last week, with the NFL’s 2023 regular season two days from commencement.

Former Viking Latches onto Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Sunday, “Veteran DT Ross Blacklock will sign with the Jaguars practice squad, source said. He’s played with the Texans and Vikings.”

Latches onto Jacksonville
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports.

Blacklock will be an option for “next man up” if something happens to one of the Jaguars defensive tackles on the 53-man roster. The Vikings waived Blackock one week ago amid roster cuts.

Minnesota sent a 6th-Round pick to Houston and received Blacklock and a 7th-Rounder in return late last summer. The TCU alumnus struggled to catch on with the Vikings and hence encountered the roster-cut fate after defenders Jonathan Bullard and Jaquelin Roy made the active roster in “Blacklock’s spot.”

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Blacklock played in 11 games for the Vikings, starting none, with 139 defensive snaps alongside a meh 46.4 Pro Football Focus grade. The young defender will need a career renaissance in Jacksonville to effectuate his 2nd-Round draft stock from three years ago. And while that’s certainly still possible, he’s essentially starting near the bottom on the team’s practice squad.

During the 2020 NFL Draft lead-up, Pro Football Network described Blacklock’s skillset as “quick, explosive one-gap tackle with big upside” and someone who “plays smart, instinctive football and quickly locates the ball carrier.”

the Roster Bubble
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

That was likely true in 2020 — and could still turn out accurate in the long run — but Blacklock has not lived up to the fancy 2nd-Round draft stock through three seasons. He produced a 50.4 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021, his final season with the Texans. Blacklock scored a 66.4 mark via pass-rushing but a 39.0 in run-stopping. So, to date, his performance is lopsided.

These are the current DTs on the Jaguars roster whom Blacklock could potentially replace in the event of injury:

  • Folorunso Fatukasi
  • Jeremiah Ledbetter
  • Adam Gotsis
  • Angelo Blackson
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Oddsmakers expect Blacklock’s Jaguars to win 9.5 games in 2023, enough for back-to-back division titles. Jacksonville finished 9-8 last year, orchestrated one of the most impressive playoff comebacks in league history over the Los Angeles Chargers, and watched as quarterback Trevor Lawerence experienced a leap to bonafide stardom.

Jacksonville also employs former Vikings linebacker Heath Farwell as its special teams coach.

Blacklock turned 25 in July.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by