Since he was a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse has climbing his way up the depth charts. He’s always been an outstanding special teams player, and he’s started to get more snaps on defense as well. However, his path to starting at safety appears to be blocked by the emergence of Anthony Harris, who was outstanding in 2018 after taking over the starting spot.
The Vikings look like they might be taking a step towards finding a way to get Kearse on the field even more often.
Sources say #Vikings looking this spring into moving Jayron Kearse from safety to weakside linebacker. The 6-4, 215-pound Kearse was a linebacker in high school. Vikings didn’t draft an outside backer & drafted a safety (Marcus Epps) & signed an undrafted safety (Micah Abernathy)— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) April 30, 2019
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Vikings are considering moving the 6’4”, 215-pound Kearse to the weakside linebacker position.
Right now, the Vikings’ starting weakside linebacker spot is occupied by Ben Gedeon, but Gedeon also comes off the field when the Vikings go into their sub packages. In recent years, one of the ways that teams have found success against the Vikings is by using offensive personnel groupings that force the Vikings to stay in their base 4-3 defense rather than deploying more members of the secondary in nickel and dime packages instead. If Kearse were able to take over as the weakside linebacker instead of Gedeon, it might give them enough flexibility to adjust to what opponents are doing, allowing the team to shift to more of a “big nickel” look if necessary.
You would have to assume that Kearse would have to add a little weight in order to make the full-time transition to linebacker, and perhaps the team has already told him that’s something he needs to work towards doing. In any case, I don’t think the move of Jayron Kearse to linebacker is a bad idea, and it will be interesting to see how. . .or if. . .this is implemented in the offseason programs and into the preseason.