Former Vikings Defender Re-Ups with Jaguars

Next Team for Danielle
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

He didn’t play any regular season games in 2023 but will give it a whirl with the same team in 2024.

Former Vikings Defender Re-Ups with Jaguars

That’s the verdict for former Minnesota Vikings and Golden Gophers defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo. The 24-year-old signed a futures contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, the club that scooped him from free agency at the beginning of the 2023 season.

The former Gopher was plucked out of the 5th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft by Vikings general manager Adofo-Mensah, late-round fruit of trades with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. The Draft Network called Otomewo “an intriguing developmental defensive lineman that offers prototypical size, length, and power to serve as a hand-in-the-dirt base end at the NFL level” leading up to the event.

Ups with
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Otomewo began to see modest acclimation in the Vikings’ defense as a rookie in 2022, appearing in 5 games and playing 89 defensive snaps. He was also on the field for 45 special teams plays. Pro Football Focus graded his small 2022 sample at 62.6.

But when roster trimdowns arrived late last summer, the ex-Gopher failed to make the Vikings 53-man cutoff and later ventured to Jacksonville. He lived on the practice squad for all of 2023 and was a promotion away from the gameday roster.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

At the University of Minnesota, Otomewo played 34 games, notching 81 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. He’s a humongous man, standing 6’6″ and weighing 282 pounds. He majored in Business & Marketing Education. Exiting high school, Otomewo was considered by some draft scouts as the best EDGE rusher in the state of Indiana.

The Jaguars currently employ these defensive tackles ahead of Otomewo:

  • Roy Robertson-Harris
  • Adam Gotsis
  • Tyler Lacy
  • Jeremiah Ledbetter
  • Angelo Blackson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

He received All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors in 2021. Otomewo was also the second Adofo-Mensah draft pick to depart the Vikings after offensive tackle Vederian Lowe was traded to the New England Patriots in August. He was the one man popularly forecasted by the Vikings fans to likely make the 2023 practice squad that ultimately did not happen.

Jacksonville, on the whole, has some soul-searching afoot this offseason. It owned a magnificent 8-3 record after Week 12, sitting in prime territory for a playoff spot and perhaps 1st-Round bye. Then, the wheels fell off — and burst while doing so — finishing 1-5 in the season’s final six games — just like the Vikings. The Jaguars wound up 9-8 with no playoff spot.

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

Otomewo will turn 25 in March.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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