Vikings Sign New Contract with Defensive Lineman

Vikings on Another
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

After losing the wild-card round against the Giants, the Vikings immediately entered their offseason. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the general manager, started by signing players to future contracts.

Those contracts are regular NFL contracts, including minimum salary, cap charges, signing bonuses, and other standard contract terms. However, the contracts don’t take effect until the new league year starts. This year that will begin on Wednesday, March 15th, at 3 pm CT.

Vikings Sign New Contract
Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman T.J. Smith (50) performs a drill during mandatory minicamp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

In the meantime, the signed players will be stashed on the reserves/futures list and can’t be signed by a different team. Usually, teams sign parts of their practice squad, especially players they think could be valuable in the next season.

It’s the first step teams take to get their roster to 90 players. The only players eligible are the ones that were not on an active roster after Week 18. That includes unrestricted free agents and players on the practice squad.

Vikings Sign New Contract with Defensive Lineman

The Vikings now announced the signing of defensive tackle T.J. Smith to such a contract. He will return to the team after being part of the practice squad all year. His lone season appearance came against the Packers when he played 22 defensive snaps in the blowout loss. He also played one game for the purple team in the 2021 season.

Smith was an undrafted rookie in the 2020 draft and signed with the Chargers, where he spent his rookie campaign on the practice squad before he signed midway through the 2021 season with the Vikings to become a part of their practice squad.

Smith can showcase his talents in the preseason and training camp to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. The 25-year-old has a good chance considering that the Vikings don’t have a lot of depth at the defensive tackle position. Minnesota only has three players under contract, Harrison Phillips, James Lynch, and Ross Blacklock.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Starter Dalvin Tomlinson is set to enter free agency after his contract expires. He played for the Vikings in the last two seasons.

The new defensive coordinator will be asked to evaluate Smith after the departure of 2022 DC Ed Donatell. The eight players the Vikings signed to future contracts are:

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) eyes the goal line after being tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Darius Phillips (20) during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • WR Trishton Jackson
  • WR Blake Proehl
  • TE Nick Muse
  • C Josh Sokol
  • T.J. Smith
  • OLB Benton Whitley
  • OLB Curtis Weaver
  • CB Tay Gowan

The most exciting players to watch in the preseason are the two wideouts. Blake Proehl was a camp standout in 2021 before he tore his ACL, and Trishton Jackson starred in 2022 but failed to make the team. Like Smith, both receivers can make the team in their next attempt.

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