The Vikings Signed a Dark Horse Prospect from the 2021 Draft

Oct 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Tay Gowan (36) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, there are prospects that seemingly fly under-the-radar prior to the NFL Draft that emerge as terrific players once they get playing time. In the same light, we all try to predict who these under-the-radar prospects will be before and after the draft. The Minnesota Vikings signed one of these “dark horse” prospects from the 2021 draft class to their practice squad this week: CB Tay Gowan.

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The Arizona Cardinals selected Gowan in the sixth round of the 2021 draft after he played one full season as a starter for UCF. In those 12 games, he recorded eight pass defenses and a pair of interceptions. He opted out of the 2020 season before declaring for the NFL Draft in 2021.

Gowan fell in the draft because of this opt-out, but he brought an intriguing skillset and physical prowess in the secondary to the NFL. In fact, his opposing passer rating of 26.2 in single coverage was the second-best in the nation during 2019.

Unfortunately for Gowan, he did not get much of a chance to display his talents during his rookie season. The Cardinals included him in their trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire tight end Zach Ertz before he was able to his NFL debut. He only appeared in two games with the Eagles as well, playing 44 defensive snaps. In these games, he recorded two tackles.

Now, he joins a Minnesota Vikings team that is very young at cornerback on the 53-man roster outside of Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan. The team is hoping that Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans can grow into productive pros, and now Gowan joins the practice squad with a similar hope that the former dark horse prospect can live up to the potential that he showed in college.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken