Someone mentioned something about this in the World Cup update thread I did earlier, and I thought it was a pretty good idea, so let’s run with it.
There is currently regular season professional football being played, but to find it you need to look north of the border. Yes, the Canadian Football League regular season is underway, as they’re completing Week 2 action this week. With the 106th Grey Cup scheduled for 25 November, there’s still a long way to go in the CFL season.
There are lots of players that spent at least a little bit of time with the Minnesota Vikings in the CFL. . .way more than I actually thought, to be honest. So, let’s take a quick spin through the CFL and see who the players with ties to the Vikings are, shall we?
British Columbia Lions
Emmanuel Arceneaux, WR - Arceneaux was with the Vikings in 2011, having spent most of the year on the practice squad. He was pretty well-known in the CFL before he took his shot at the NFL, and has been outstanding since his return to Canada. He’s caught at least 100 passes in each of the last two seasons, and has over 7,000 receiving yards in his CFL career.
Solomon Elimimian, LB - Elimimian had a cup of coffee with the Vikings in 2012, when he was with the team through camp but failed to make the roster. He took a shot at the NFL with the Cleveland Browns after that, but returned to the CFL midway through the 2012 season. Since then, he’s been named a two-time CFL Defensive Player of the Year, winning the award in 2014 and 2016. He was even the CFL MVP in 2014, becoming the first primarily defensive player to win that honor.
Josh Kaddu, DE - Kaddu was on the Vikings’ practice squad for most of the 2014 season, and is currently on the practice squad for the Lions.
DaVaris Daniels, WR - Daniels was with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft. He didn’t make the team and was apparently out of football in 2015, but made his way to the Stampeders in 2016. That year, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie, putting up 743 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Tre Roberson, CB - Roberson spent a couple of seasons on the Vikings’ practice squad, but was waived in 2017.
Troy Stoudermire, CB - Stoudermire also had a couple of shots at making the Vikings, but ultimately wound up in Calgary.
Rakim Cox, DE - Cox had a brief stint with the Vikings after going undrafted, and bounced around the NFL a bit before ending up in Canada. He’s on his second CFL team, having played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017.
Travis Bond, OL - Often remembered as “the guy that got hit by an SUV and didn’t even flinch,” Bond was drafted by the Vikings in 2013 and was ultimately let go. Bond also bounced around for a bit before heading to Edmonton. He’s on his third CFL team, after being a CFL All-Star for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2016 and also spending time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders before heading to Edmonton.
Saskatchewan Roughriders/Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Neither of these teams, at least from the looks I’ve taken at their rosters, have any players with ties to the Vikings.
Larry Dean, LB - Dean was with the Vikings for three seasons from 2011 to 2013, and played in all 16 games all three years that he was with Minnesota, primarily as a special teamer. After he was released before the 2014 season, he spent time with the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before heading north. In 2016, his first season in Hamilton, he was named a CFL All-Star.
Simoni Lawrence, LB - Lawrence had the briefest of brief tenures with the Vikings, as he only spent about three months on the roster in 2014. After his release by the Vikings, he went to Hamilton, and has flourished. He’s been named a CFL East All-Star three times, and a CFL All-Star in 2015.
It doesn’t appear the Alouettes have any players on the roster with Vikings ties.
A.C. Leonard, DE - Yes, it’s that A.C. Leonard, and yes, that says defensive end and not tight end. Leonard was thought to be a pretty big steal for the Vikings in undrafted free agency after the 2014 Draft, but was released for unclear reasons during Training Camp that year. After a few different stops, including one with the B.C. Lions as a tight end, Leonard signed with Saskatchewan in 2016 and converted to defensive end. He had five sacks in each of his two seasons in Saskatchewan before moving on to Ottawa before the start of this season.
Kyries Hebert, LB - We’re going to hit the Wayback Machine for this one. Older fans might remember Hebert as a guy that head coach Mike Tice. . .told you we were going way back. . .raved about in mini-camps in 2002. Tice talked about him like he might be the next Joey Browner at safety, so naturally he didn’t even make the team. Since then, he’s managed to carve out a pretty solid career in Canada for himself, with a couple of NFL stints mixed in. Last season, at the age of 37, he won the James P. McCaffrey Award, given to the Outstanding Defensive Player in the CFL’s Eastern Division.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, QB - Yes, the Highlander himself is still in the professional football ranks, as he’s now with the Argos. He’s actually gotten some regular season game action up north. In 2017, he threw two passes, and completed them both for 10 yards. I’m sure he’s due for another go-around with the Vikings here in the near future.
Rodney Smith, WR - Smith is “the guy that Teddy Bridgewater threw that winning touchdown pass to in that preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals that seems like it was a decade ago.” He spent some time on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad before signing with the Argonauts, and is currently on the team’s injured list.
I’m pretty sure that’s everyone from the Canadian Football League with ties to the Vikings that’s still kicking around up there. Any blasts from the past for any of you folks out there?