Former Vikings CB Ends Reunion Dream, Signs with LA Rams for 2023 Season

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apj Packers Vs Vikings 010123 267 Ttm

The Minnesota Vikings had a bit of a carousel at the CB position last fall. While Patrick Peterson was a steady starter throughout the year, Cam Dantzler, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans all had injuries throughout the year.

The final player to enter the carousel, Duke Shelley, proved to be the most effective player. However, the Vikings opted not to bring him back this spring, and he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Last week, though, the Raiders waived the former Vikings CB.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the news via Twitter, writing, “Dalton Wagner goes to I.R. Tough loss. Duke Shelley and Tyler Hall get waived and released at CB, in a bit of a surprise.”

In the aftermath of that waiving, many Vikings fans had been clamoring for a reunion with Shelley. However, the dream came to an end on Friday as he signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

Former Vikings CB Signs with Rams

Former Vikings CB
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) celebrates a defensive pass break up during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reported the signing, tweeting, “#Rams signed Duke Shelley.” The CB now heads to his fourth NFL team after spending stints with the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Las Vegas Raiders.

Shelley thrived in the Vikings secondary last season. He played a grand total of 398 defensive snaps for Minnesota last season. His Pro Football Focus pass coverage grade of 84.9 ranked third at the position among all corners with at least 200 coverage snaps.

This grade came in behind only Patrick Surtain (86.7) and Sauce Gardner (90.0). Shelley was also one of only 20 qualifying cornerbacks to be penalized one or fewer times last year.

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker (1) makes a catch while Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Shelley signed with the Vikings practice squad after he was cut by the Bears last fall, and he burst onto the scene against the Buffalo Bills. During overtime of that game, he made a game-saving pass breakup while guarding TE Dawson Knox in the end zone.

Reminder, Shelley is a 5’9″, 176-pound CB while Knox stands at 6’4″ and weighs 254 pounds. No matchup was too big for Shelley last year, and this bulldog mentality in coverage quickly made him a fan-favorite down the stretch of the season.

Duke Shelley Got His Revenge
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) intercepts a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool (10) during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Now, Shelley gets a chance to prove himself with the Rams. Following the trade of Jalen Ramsey, this is a rebuilding secondary. Currently, the 53-man roster holds Tre Tomlinson, Cobie Durant, Shaun Jolly, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Shelley.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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