Vikings Sign a Former Gopher

It’s linebackers galore for the Minnesota Vikings to start free agency.

Shortly after opting to give Andrew Van Ginkel a two-year contract to reunite with his former head coach Brian Flores, the Vikings have now signed a former Minnesota Gophers LB in Blake Cashman, who spent the past two NFL seasons with the Houston Texans.

Vikings Sign LB Blake Cashman

Blake Cashman
Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Blake Cashman (53) reacts after a play during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The terms of the contract were reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, who tweeted, “Homecoming: The #Vikings are signing Minnesota native and LB Blake Cashman to a three-year deal worth up to $25.5 million, his agent @blakebaratz of @TeamIFA tells me and @RapSheet. Big deal for @blockayy, who grew up in Eden Prairie, played for the Gophers and now is a Viking.”

Cashman, 27, spent all four of his collegiate seasons at the University of Minnesota from 2015-18, and he put together 183 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks during his time with the Gophers. As a result, he was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

The linebacker spent three seasons with the Jets, but he saw very limited playing time in part due to a number of different injuries. Cashman would appear in 14 games for the Jets over those three years from 2019-2021, making seven starts, and recording 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, and half a sack.

Oct 13, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) can’t hold on to a pass against New York Jets linebacker Blake Cashman (53) who is called for interference in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2022 season, Cashman was traded to the Houston Texans where he was finally able to make it through a full season without dealing with an injury. He played 16 games and recorded 26 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, and a pair of passes defended largely in a reserve role.

Cashman then had his breakout season in 2023 by starting 13 games and putting together 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two sacks, five passes defended, and an interception. His presence in Houston’s defense was a big reason why the Texans were able to be a surprise playoff team this past year.

Among all linebackers with at least 500 snaps this past season, Cashman ranked eighth in terms of overall PFF grade by scoring 82.1. While he is not much of a presence in the pass rush, he is a stout supporter in run defense and a very capable coverage player.

Oct 29, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) with the ball as Houston Texans linebacker Blake Cashman (53) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It would appear that Cashman is set to replace Jordan Hicks in the Vikings defense as Minnesota continues to try and get a touch younger on that side of the ball.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.