One Vikings Fan-Favorite Apparently Changed Positions

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

It may be more of a formality or technicality, but Minnesota Vikings defender NaJee Thompson evidently has a new position.

One Vikings Fan-Favorite Apparently Changed Positions

Welcomed to the Vikings’ roster as a cornerback in 2023 from undrafted free agency, Thompson has switched to safety, according to The Athletic‘s Alec Lewis.

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Lewis published observations of each Vikings player from the spring and early summer this week, and regarding Thompson, the news was a position change. “NaJee Thompson: Switched positions, but his value remains in his special teams prowess. Likely to make the roster,” Lewis wrote, adding the “S” acronym to the front of his name, denoting a safety, not a cornerback.

On and other major roster websites, Thompson is still listed as a cornerback, so the news might simply travel slowly.

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Thompson didn’t play much defense as a rookie — he was on the field for one single defensive snap during the regular season — but experienced extensive action on special teams, enough to gain respect from the masses as a fan favorite.

If or when Minnesota confirms Thompson’s position change, well, the safety room would become even more crowded. Assuming Lewis’ intel is accurate, these are Minnesota safeties as of June 18th:

  • Harrison Smith
  • Camryn Bynum
  • Josh Metellus
  • Lewis Cine
  • Jay Ward
  • Theo Jackson
  • NaJee Thompson
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Heading into the 2023 season, Kevin O’Connell and Co. kept six safeties on the 53-man roster, and if Thompson fully takes the plunge at the spot, the club might be forced to keep seven — or cut someone like Lewis Cine or Theo Jackson at the end of the summer.

Last summer, Minnesota’s coaching staff was rather high on Thompson. Special teams coordinator Matt Daniels said 10 months ago, “It’s funny, I’ve been watching this player for quite some time now, and he lives and breathes special teams. That’s who he is at the core, and for him to finally be able to carry it over from what I saw on tape from the collegiate level to putting it on display on Thursday night only solidifies who he is as a person – the bright lights aren’t too big for him.”

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And then Thompson delivered in the regular season on special teams.

Minnesota’s defensive backs will be intriguing to monitor in the next 11 weeks as the franchise might have “too many” decent commodities for all to make the active roster. Defenders like Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth, and the aforementioned Cine could be on the roster bubble.

Thompson will turn 24 next month.

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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