Packers Work Out Former Vikings Speedster

Aug 8, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers helmets sit on the sidelines during the game against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Ben Sims joined the Green Bay Packers roster this week, and another recently-cut Vikings could soon follow.

He’s Kalon Barnes, a cornerback added to Minnesota’s practice squad in 2022.

Packers Work Out Former Vikings Speedster

Barnes, 24, was on the outside looking in during Vikings roster trimdowns Tuesday and did not get an invitation to the practice squad like 16 others. But that may soon change in Wisconsin, as KPRC2‘s Aaron Wilson tweeted on the X app Friday, “Packers worked out Kalon Barnes and Chris Steele.”

Packers Work Out
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (13) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Jay Ward (20) and cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Packers currently showcase this CB room:

  • CB1: Jaire Alexander
  • CB2: Rasul Douglas
  • CB3: Keisean Nixon
  • CB4: Carrington Valentine

They also employ Corey Ballentine and Kiondre Thomas on the practice squad. Eric Stokes is currently hurt.

Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (13) runs after the catch as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kalon Barnes (27) looks to make the tackle during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Last December, the Vikings grabbed Barnes from the Miami Dolphins practice squad. He experienced special teams action down the stretch of 2022 for the Vikings against the New York Giants (regular season game) and Chicago Bears. The Baylor alumnus was then retained by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah this offseason and battled for a roster spot at training camp and in the preseason, to no avail.

Pro Football Network ranked the league’s fastest players In July, and Barnes made the cut — at No. 2. His 4.23 forty at the 2022 NFL Combine was the fastest by any defensive player in the event’s history.

Purple Rumor Mill: A New Speed Goblin, Mike Zimmer and Colorado, Dantzler
Nov 16, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears cornerback Grayland Arnold (1) and Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) in action during the game between the Bears and the Sooners at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

During the draft process, few traits excite onlookers more than speed. Of course, the track record for “fastest guy in the draft” rarely translates to automatic stardom in the pros. But the sizzle of a team adding a weapon with comic-book speed is indeed enchanting. Sizzling speed is Barnes’ dance. Barnes played all four years at Baylor, tallying 3 interceptions in 35 collegiate games.

The Draft Network described Barnes’ game like this during the lead-up to the 2022 NFL Draft, “Barnes is primarily a zone corner that will tend to play with a tight cushion in his bail technique because he knows he is fast. Thornton has the make-up speed to catch up with receivers even when he waits too long to flip his hips and run. Barnes still has parts of his game that need to be developed and early in his NFL career, he will be best served to go to a defensive scheme that runs zone principles that he is familiar with from his time at Baylor.”

Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay also employs ex-Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson, so if Barnes nets a contract with the Cheese Team, the count will be three Wilson, Sims, and Barnes.

The Packers are expected to finish in third place this season behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North.

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