Vikings 2022 Hero Absolutely Buried on New Team’s Depth Chart

Shelley Likely
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Shelley emerged as a main Minnesota Vikings protagonist in 2022, almost to the level of folklore.

Vikings 2022 Hero Absolutely Buried on New Team’s Depth Chart

The then-unknown cornerback took over starter’s duties after injuries to Cameron Dantzler, Akayleb Evans, and Andrew Booth in 2022, and before too long, his emergence felt like a classic example of addition by subtraction. The man flourished inside Ed Donatell’s 2022 defense — to the tune of the NFL’s fourth-best corner, according to Pro Football Focus, with an 82.9 grade.

Vikings 2022 Hero
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

So, when the offseason hit, naturally, the Vikings would welcome the defender back for a shot at a sequel, right? False. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said no thanks to Shelley, who later signed with the Las Vegas Raiders for one year and $1.3 million, a diminutive figure in NFL-speak.

Indeed, Minnesota said toodles to CBs Shelley, Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd, and the aforementioned Dantzler while onboarding veteran free agents Byron Murphy and Joejuan Wiliams, plus rookie Mekhi Blackmon from the 2023 NFL Draft.

1 Vikings Free Agent Wants to Come Back
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Outwardly, Shelley seemed on track for starting duties, as the Raiders depth chart at CB was weak, at least to the naked eye. Fast forward to early August with the releases of first unofficial depth charts, and Shelley was buried on Las Vegas’ depth chart. It’s quite strange.

Here’s the current lay of the land in Las Vegas at CB:

CB1: Marcus Peters
CB2: Nate Hobbs
CB3: Brandon Facyson
CB4: Jakorian Bennett
CB5: Amik Robertson
CB6: Tyler Hall
CB7: Ike Brown
CB8: Duke Shelley
CB9: Sam Webb
CB10: Bryce Cosby
CB11: David Long Sr.
CB12: Azizi Hearn

The Vikings 1 Standout
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

And Shelley’s depth chart placement is a bit interpretive, too. Giving him the benefit of the doubt situates him at CB8; he could be as low as CB10 based on how the Raiders organized the depth chart.

The roster spot is odd considering Shelley’s stupendous 2022 campaign and the relative player anonymity ahead of him on the roster. He shouldn’t be this buried, but such is life when hoping to earn a 53-man roster spot.

If the Raiders initial depth chart holds — there is still time for fluctuation — Shelley likely won’t make the regular season roster, possibly sending the 26-year-old to free agency. Folks will hear a verdict on August 29th when teams must cut rosters from 90 men to 53.

Vikings Had 1 Pretty Ruthless Gaffe at Lambeau
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Shelley, in theory, would be available to any CB-needy team in the business, including the Vikings.

The Raiders take on the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason on Sunday, where Shelley should experience extensive playing time.

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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