Vikings Sign Former Pro Bowler

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The Minnesota Vikings have actively overhauled the defense in free agency. Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel will be the team’s new pass-rushers while hometown defender Blake Cashman will take over for Jordan Hicks as the middle linebacker next to Ivan Pace. In addition to that, a couple of veteran defensive linemen — Jerry Tillery and Jonah Williams — joined Brian Flores’ defense.

Vikings Sign Former Pro Bowler

vikings sign former pro bowler
Houston Texans cornerback Shaquill Griffin (0) intercepts a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) in the end zone in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 10 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans at Paycor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023.

Untouched in the first week of free agency was the defensive back room. Harrison Smith returns for a 13th season in purple and backup safety Theo Jackson was re-signed. The full safety and cornerback groups return for another campaign.

However, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has addressed the CBs, adding some much-needed experience to the crew filled with young and unproven players.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced about the signing of veteran cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Jordan Schultz broke the news on X: “Breaking: Free agent CB Shaq Griffin is signing with the Vikings on a 1-year deal, up to $6M, sources tell Bleacher Report”

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Griffin was a third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. He was supposed to provide an infusion of youth to the aging Legion of Boom, Seattle’s star-filled secondary. The former UCF standout started 11 of 15 games in his debut season, playing well enough to earn a full-time starting gig in his sophomore campaign.

Ultimately, Griffin started 53 games for Pete Carroll before he departed in free agency in 2021. As the top-rated cornerback on the market, he could land a huge deal with Jacksonville — $44.5 million for three seasons. A solid first campaign was followed by an injury-riddled season in 2022 and the Jaguars released him a year ago.

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) is tackled by Carolina Panthers cornerback Shaquill Griffin (20) during the third quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars blanked the Carolina Panthers 26-0. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

The veteran spent 2023 with the Texans and Panthers. Throughout his career, Griffin played 89 games with 79 starts, tabulating 7 interceptions. His trip to the Pro Bowl came in 2019.

Now aged 28, he can still play at a solid level as his PFF grades and ranks among CBs highlight.

  • 2017: 65.3 (76th/120)
  • 2018: 50.7 (111th/112)
  • 2019: 78.0 (10th/116)
  • 2020: 64.6 (49th/121)
  • 2021: 72.0 (19th/116)
  • 2022: 61.8 (71st/118)
  • 2023: 67.0 (53rd/127)
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Griffin enters a cornerback room with Byron Murphy as the top guy. The 2023 signing was reliable in his first Vikings season. On the other side, however, there is some uncertainty. 2022 rookie Akayleb Evans was named starter as a sophomore, but the results were mixed. He was benched a couple of times in the last few games of the season. Also in the rotation are 2022 second-rounder Andrew Booth and 2023 third-rounder Mekhi Blackmon.

The hope certainly is that one of those three players can elevate his play and become a starting-caliber CB. Griffin is an insurance if it doesn’t happen. He will be a serviceable starter if none of the other guys steps up.

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