Eden Prairie Native Gets the Bag from Vikings

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After three years with the New York Jets and one down in Houston, Blake Cashman is coming home.

Vikings Free Agency: Eden Prairie Native Gets Paid

The Minnesota Vikings splashed into free agency on Monday, saying goodbye to Kirk Cousins — he chased money in Atlanta — and onboarding Jonathan Greenard (OLB, Houston Texans), Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB, Miami Dolphins), and Cashman, an off-ball linebacker.

Vikings Free Agency
New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Thursday, August 29, 2019. Jets #53 Blake Cashman and #91 Bronson Kaufusi celebrate after making a tackle. © Michael Karas/NorthJersey.com, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted, “Homecoming: The Vikings are signing Minnesota native and LB Blake Cashman to a three-year deal worth up to $25.5 million, his agent Blake Baratz of TeamIFA tells me and Ian Rapoport. Big deal for Blake Cashman, who grew up in Eden Prairie, played for the Gophers and now is a Viking.”

As of March 11th at 8:00 pm CST, these are the Vikings’ inside linebackers under contract for 2024:

  • Ivan Pace Jr.
  • Blake Cashman
  • Brian Asamoah
  • William Kwenkeu
  • Abraham Beauplan
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The group is impressive and may only need a couple more bodies before Minnesota finalizes a 90-man roster after the draft.

Cashman was selected by the Jets in the 5th Round of the 2019 NFL Draft and began a steady climb up the Jets’ and Texans’ depth charts since, culminating in the sizable contract from the Vikings on Monday. He didn’t play much for New York, or at least not all the time on defense, but when he latched onto the Texans’ roster, Cashman hit his groove. Tallying 106 total tackles on 71% of Texans’ defensive snaps, he solidified his role as an NFL starter in Year No. 4 as a pro.

Flores Flourish
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For the Vikings, he’ll start immediately alongside the aforementioned Pace Jr., who busted out, too, in 2023. Vikings fans wondered if Jordan Hicks would return in 2024, and while that’s still possible, it would likely involve a depth assignment, as the starter’s gig presumably belongs to Cashman.

Here’s his Pro Football Focus resume to date — and a reminder he didn’t play much in 2019, 2020, or 2021:

  • 2023: 83.7
  • 2022: 54.0
  • 2021: 29.1
  • 2020: 64.6
  • 2019: 49.1

The Vikings offseason now turns to a quarterback decision after Cousins signed on four years and $180 million in Atlanta. Minnesota will likely draft a quarterback in April and possibly add a “bridge quarterback” later this week. Drew Lock or Sam Darnold, for example, would make sense.

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Minnesota’s defense markedly improved from 2022 to 2023. In Kevin O’Connell’s first year, the defense ranked 24th per DVOA and climbed to 11th via the same metric with one year of Brian Flores in charge.

More Vikings free-agent signings are expected in the next several days.

Cashman will turn 28 in May. He attended the University of Minnesota from 2015 to 2018.

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.