Vikings Sign Veteran After Starter is Ruled Out for at Least 4 Games

Duke Shelley

Getty The Vikings signed cornerback Duke Shelley to the active roster in place of starter Cam Dantzler, who will miss at least the next four games with an ankle injury.

In response to starting cornerback Cameron Dantzler landing on the injured reserve list, the Minnesota Vikings have added a veteran to the active roster.

The team announced on November 12 that Minnesota has signed veteran cornerback Duke Shelley to the active roster while also placing Dantzler on the injured reserve.

Rookie tight end Nick Muse was also elevated to the active roster from the practice squad.

Duke Shelley’s Role Moving Forward

Shelley was signed to the Vikings practice squad after the fourth-year cornerback was released by the Chicago Bears on August 31. He is the only other true slot cornerback on the roster other than starter Chandon Sullivan.

Shelley has appeared in 30 career games with six starts, recording 53 tackles with four passes defended. He played in 11 games in 2020 and 10 more last season when he started a career-high four games.

Coming out of Kansas State in 2019, Shelley was deemed an underrated, but undersized slot corner at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds.

He was a four-year starter at Kansas State but suffered a torn ligament in his toe in his senior season that forced him to miss the final five games of the 2018 season. He tallied 165 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and 31 pass deflections in four seasons with the Wildcats.

Shelley didn’t receive an invitation to the combine due to his injury but impressed at Kansas State’s pro day. He ran a 4.46 40-time that drew the allure of 14 different team reps approaching him for interviews after his workout, according to the Kansas City Star.

“I can feel it, man,” Shelley told the Kansas City Star in 2019. “It’s just right here. Seeing all the coaches right here has got me hyped and ready to go. It’s a dream come true, something I have been waiting on since I was five years old. Now that it is here I don’t have words for it.”

Shelley remains an aggressive slot cornerback at his size who can at times be overpowered and capitalized against due to his size.

He’ll likely take on a special teams role with fourth-round rookie Akayleb Evans expected to get the start in Dantzler’s place on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Rookie Andrew Booth Jr. In Line for Action vs. Bills

The Vikings rookie class hasn’t panned out as expected through the first eight games of the season.

First-round safety Lewis Cine played on special teams before suffering a season-ending leg injury in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. Second-round cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. has dealt with various injuries this season. He played two special-teams snaps in Week 1 before missing the next five games.

Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell revealed that Booth is fully healthy entering Week 10 and could be in line to contribute on defense with Dantzler’s designation on the injured reserve.

“He’s right in there ready to go too. He’s had good practices. He’s been nicked a little bit more so that’s put him behind some,” Donatell said in a November 11 press conference. “Every player is different. Some guys are more steep with their growth and some guys are more gradual. In the end, time will show what great quality players both those guys [Evans and Booth] will be.”

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