For the first time this season, the Vikings enter the week with a .500 record after winning five of their past six games to overcome a 1-5 start to the season.
The Vikings (6-6) made it clear on Wednesday it will not carry any more dead weight as the team makes a final push for the playoffs in the final four weeks of the season. In the wake of cutting third-year cornerback Holton Hill, who was on the injured reserve list, the Vikings signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers interior offensive lineman Zack Bailey to the practice squad.
The acquisition of Bailey could simply be for intel approaching a pivotal matchup with the Buccaneers on Sunday, but could also pay dividends beyond Week 14 as a depth add to the offensive line.
The Vikings have already elevated one practice squad lineman into the starting lineup this season in Brett Jones. Jones started two games at right guard while second-round rookie Ezra Cleveland was out and remains on the active roster. Jones is currently the backup center behind Garrett Bradbury, while Dru Samia currently is behind both Cleveland and Dakota Dozier.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Skol Nation!
Who is Zack Bailey?
Coming out of high school, Bailey was regarded as the No. 15 guard prospect in the country and received offers from Clemson and Florida before committing to South Carolina. He started four seasons, playing majorly left guard (27 starts) and some right guard (eight starts) and center (three starts) for the Gamecocks. He was an All-SEC Freshman Team honoree and second-team All-SEC in 2018. He suffered a broken leg injury his senior season that plummeted his draft stock.
Thirty-minutes after going undrafted, the Buccaneers called Bailey and invited him to training camp. The 6-foot-6, 314-pound lineman won a spot on the Buccaneers 53-man roster before landing on the injured reserve list.
Bailey was placed on the practice squad to begin the 2020 season and was released in November.
Bailey’s Prospects With the Vikings
Bailey lacks the athleticism to upend Cleveland for a spot at starting guard any time soon. Regarded as a “telephone booth” guard, he’s a guy who operates well in a finite space as more of a pass protector. While the Vikings look to continue to lean on a zone running scheme, Bailey’s abilities will likely be viewed as a developmental project.
Only in his second NFL season, Bailey still has potential and could compete in the coming seasons for the left guard spot to supplant Dozier, who’s contract expires this offseason.
He joins rookie Kyle Hinton on the Vikings practice squad who will also look to compete for a job on the interior offensive line in training camp next year.
- Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Causing ‘Rift’ in Eagles Locker Room: Report
- Mike Zimmer Speaks Out on Ex-Viking Teddy Bridgewater
- Disgruntled Vikings Defensive End: ‘I Belong in This League!’
- Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Calls Out ‘Bad Call’ vs. Jaguars
- Titans’ Derrick Henry Sends Strong Message on Vikings’ Dalvin Cook
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.