One of the better stories of the late part of the Minnesota Vikings’ 2022 season will be continuing in the desert next season.
Cornerback Duke Shelley, who provided some surprisingly strong cornerback play for the Vikings over the last few weeks of the regular season, has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. The deal is reportedly a one-year deal for just over a million dollars.
Shelley was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and spent his first three years with the Bears organization, After being waived by the Bears as part of their final cuts last season, he signed with the Vikings’ practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in mid-November and wound up starting in five of the team’s final seven regular season games and the playoff loss to the Giants.
I think that a lot of people thought Shelley would have been one of the Vikings’ offseason priorities given his ascension at the end of last year. However, that was under a different defensive coordinator and it appears that Brian Flores felt confident in allowing the team to move on. Shelley’s contract wasn’t anything prohibitive or anything, so it would appear that it’s more of a personnel fit issue than anything else, at least on the surface.
The Vikings signed Byron Murphy Jr. to handle a lot of the cornerback duties a week or so ago, but the rest of the cornerback room is very young and inexperienced as things stand right now. We’ll have to see whether or not the Vikings continue to address the position in free agency or if they’ll wait until the 2023 NFL Draft to make a significant move.