Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
After being a fourth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2014, and starting four games as a rookie while playing in all 16 games, safety Brock Vereen fell into a minimized role early this season with a new coaching staff in place. So it was not all that surprising that he was waived earlier this week, as the Bears start to refurbish their roster with an eye toward keeping players the new regime sees as a good fit.
But Vereen has landed on his feet quickly, signing with the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday. He has reportedly arrived at the team facility on Thursday, and will be assigned to the practice squad. Vereen will be the third former Golden Gopher-turned-current Viking, joining cornerback back Marcus Sherels and wide receiver Isaac Fruechte. Sherels has been the Vikings’ primary punt returner in recent years, and Fruechte was signed to the team’s practice squad after final cuts this year.
Over his four seasons as a Golden Gophers’ defensive back, Vereen started 36 games as a safety and a cornerback and he was voted first team All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches as a senior in 2013. He had at least 55 tackles in each of his final three seasons at Minnesota, with four career interceptions.
Vereen said he was looking for a place he would be comfortable, and returning to Minnesota surely qualifies based on that desire. I thought the Vikings should have drafted him in 2014, and now they’ll get an opportunity to see what Vereen has without the pressure of attaching value to him as a draft pick or being forced to play him.
The opportunity to work with Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer should be great for Vereen’s NFL future, even if it’s only on the practice field initially. It would not surprise me if Vereen winds up active for a few games later this season, as a primary special teams contributor that could also push for snaps at safety alongside Harrison Smith.
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