Vikings Sign Hometown Hero

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings general manager in his third year in charge, is spending big on the defensive side of the ball after letting Kirk Cousins depart in free agency. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores will be happy about his new contributors as he needed an infusion of some talent to his group of players.

Vikings Sign Hometown Hero

Vikings Sign Hometown Hero
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After bolstering the outside linebacker crew by adding Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, Flores welcomes inside linebacker Blake Cashman, previously with the Houston Texans and New York Jets, Tom Pelissero reported.

It is a homecoming for Cashman as he was born in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, 27 years ago. He also played his college ball at the University of Minnesota.

Cashman was drafted in the fifth round in 2019 by the New York Jets and he immediately made the roster, playing there for three seasons. In those campaigns, he appeared in a total of 14 games and he started seven contests. Unfortunately, Cashman missed time in every season as he was placed on injured reserve every year.

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In March 2022, the Texans acquired him via trade in exchange for a sixth-rounder and he earned a one-year extension. 2023 was his true breakout season as he finally had a full-time starting role, playing in 14 games with 13 starts. Under new head coach Demeco Ryans, Cashman exploded statistically, producing 2 sacks and 106 tackles (9 tackles for loss).

The linebacker is a wonderful fit in a Flores defense as he is a versatile player with the ability to get after the passer but he can also cover and defend the run. Pro Football Focus graded him as an excellent player in all three categories.

  • Overall: 83.7
  • Run defense: 84.7
  • Pass rush: 73.5
  • Coverage: 75.4
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Flores requires versatile defenders for his scheme to flourish and Cashman is perfect in that regard. He will enter a linebacker room that is without Jordan Hicks after two seasons. The veteran is still in the free agency pool but Cashman’s arrival puts his return in doubt.

Ivan Pace and Brian Asamoah are the two notable remaining players under contract. Pace was amazing in his rookie campaign and it would be shocking if he didn’t continue to play a huge role. Asamoah didn’t miss any time but he labored a shoulder injury all year. Because of that and Pace’s emergence, he didn’t take the expected step toward starting the lineup.

Cashman is set to sign a three-year contract worth $25.5 million. Because of that commitment, he should be considered to have one starting gig secured.

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With Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Cashman, Minnesota’s front seven will look a lot different in the upcoming season. Talent needed to be added and the general manager was not wasting any time. The franchise still needs a defensive lineman next to Harrison Phillips but the first few hours of free agency have been a banger for the Vikings.

It is a sweet homecoming for the 27-year-old who is a perfect fit in the defense.

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