Vikings Defender Chopped from Roster

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Minnesota Vikings mandatory minicamp is three weeks away, and in the meantime, the franchise is conducting some roster maintenance.

Vikings Defender Chopped from Roster

Minnesota reportedly released veteran cornerback Joejuan Williams on Tuesday, a move trimming the CB room to 10 players.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted, “The Vikings released veteran CB Joejuan Williams, per source.” The Vikings signed Williams last year — a couple of times — and he saw regular season action in two games. Williams played 48 defensive snaps with Minnesota in 2023 and 14 special teams plays. He was targeted by opposing quarterbacks four times in the passing game.

Here’s Williams’ career resume to date:

  • New England Patriots (2019–2022)
  • Chicago Bears (2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2023)
Dark Horse Defender Could Win Vikings CB Job
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings initially signed Williams in April 2023. He stuck around in varying capacities (practice squad) for five months before the Bears seized him from the practice squad late last September. Williams then played in four games for Chicago, was released, and re-signed with Minnesota in November, where he finished the season.

A 2nd-Round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams never quite took off with the New England Patriots, hence the lack of priority in extending him beyond a rookie deal. Williams lasted four seasons on Bill Belichick’s team but missed all of 2022 on injured reserve.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Since 2019, Williams has played 42 games while starting one, tabulating 561 defensive snaps and experiencing action on 393 special teams plays. Because of the 2022 injury, he was basically a forgotten man as a Patriot and found his way to the Vikings the following offseason accordingly.

Here’s Williams’ resume to date, per passer-rating-against since 2019:

  • 2019 = 56.8
  • 2020 = 79.7
  • 2021 = 96.8
  • 2022 = Injured
  • 2023 = 16.3 (4 targets)

And, of course, the Pro Football Focus details:

  • 2019 = 67.8
  • 2020 = 55.5
  • 2021 = 66.6
  • 2022 = Injured
  • 2023 = 49.4

These are the Vikings current cornerbacks without Williams:

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Akayleb Evans
CB3: Mekhi Blackmon
CB4: Shaquill Griffin
CB5: Andrew Booth
CB6: Khyree Jackson
CB7: NaJee Thompson
CB8: Jaylin Williams
CB9: A.J. Green III
CB10: Dwight McGlothern

Williams’ release could signal an incoming move for the Vikings. The team is scheduled to meet with a different veteran cornerback, Jerry Jacobs, formerly of the Detroit Lions, sometime this week, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Minnesota CB Joejuan Williams addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Thursday, July 27, 2023. Williams joined the Vikings via free agency in April 23 and was a 2nd-Round draft pick by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots four years ago.

Minnesota also has [arguable] roster needs at WR3 and left guard.

Williams will turn 27 this December.


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 MIN 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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