Former Vikings Speedster Resurfaces in Arizona

WR Signs with
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The Vikings reached the offseason after failing to win their final four games of the 2023 season. Kevin O’Connell’s team fell apart after starting 6-4, losing six of the final seven games. With many holes on the roster and some key contributors scheduled to leave in free agency, it will be a fascinating time in the Vikings universe.

Former Vikings Speedster Resurfaces in Arizona

Like every year, teams sign many players to fill their 90-man offseason rosters. Eliminated franchises can sign practice squad players or free agents to future contracts. Those are virtually normal deals but don’t start until the new league year arrives. The Vikings signed a bunch of those on January 8 and some more since.

Former Vikings Speedster Resurfaces in Arizona
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Other organizations obviously do the same. The Arizona Cardinals came to an agreement with ex-Viking Dan Chisena, who wore the purple jersey between 2020 and 2022.

The Cardinals announced on their website: “The Cardinals are bringing back a familiar wide receiver, although he was under the radar during his first stint. Dan Chisena was signed to a future contract on Tuesday, after spending time on both the practice squad and (briefly) the active roster late in the season for the team. After the regular season ended, Chisena signed with the Ravens’ practice squad and played in both of Baltimore’s playoff games.”

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Chisena’s collegiate career was fascinating. Joining Penn State’s football and track teams as a walk-on, he earned a track scholarship at the end of his freshman season. The one stipulation because of the NCAA rules: He had to leave the football team. And he did.

The Pennsylvania state champ in high school in various track disciplines also made some noise in the track world when he finished third in the 2017 Big Ten championships in the 400-meter race and his 4×400-meter team won the national title at the 2017 indoor championships.

In 2018, he returned to the football team for a couple of games and played in 12 contests in 2019. But he has never been a big contributor on offenses in college of the NFL, catching only three passes in his final college season. His specialty is special teams, especially as a gunner on punt returns where he can utilize his speed.

Ravens for Playoff
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Going undrafted, Chisena signed with the Vikings in 2020 and, surprisingly, made the 53-man roster to star on special teams. In three seasons with the Vikings, Chisena appeared in 27 games and played on 496 special teams snaps and 11 on offense.

He was a big contributor as long as Mike Zimmer was in charge, but when Kevin O’Connell arrived, he only played two games in 2022 and spent most of the year on the practice squad. Following the 2022 season, he departed from the organization and joined the Pittsburgh Steelers. After failing to make the roster, he returned to Minnesota’s practice squad for roughly six weeks.

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The Vikings waived him in November, and he signed with Arizona’s practice squad. Once eliminated, the Ravens called and hired him for their postseason run. While staying on Baltimore’s practice squad, he appeared in both playoff games and logged a total of 34 special teams reps.

He now returns to Arizona after a short stint with the Ravens. Chisena will turn 27 on February 25 and has carved out a nice role in the league, considering his non-existent play on offense. If he can make the team and is active on game day in a Cardinals uniform, he will return to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2024.

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