Free-agent safety Kurt Coleman plans to sign with the Vikings, according to a league source.
Coleman, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, visited the Vikings on Thursday. The team offered him a contract, and he agreed to terms on a one-year deal today.
Coleman will be the seventh safety on the roster, and the Vikings return a pair of starting safeties in Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford. But with a new head coach in Mike Zimmer, players will start with a clean slate and will have to prove themselves this spring and summer. Plus, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound safety is the kind of reclamation project that Zimmer enjoyed taking on as a coordinator.
Coleman, 25, was drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL draft. He started two games as a rookie and 27 games over his new two seasons. He picked off four passes in 2011 and made a career-high 93 tackles in 2012, which ranked second on the Eagles.
Last year, the Eagles hired a new head coach in Chip Kelly and they signed Patrick Chung, who replaced Coleman as a starter. Coleman played just 73 defensive snaps in 2013, the lowest total of his career, but he was a core contributor on special teams, making eight tackles in that phase.
Coleman made 170 tackles with the Eagles with seven interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles.
Coleman is an Ohio native who played college football at Ohio State. As a senior, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was named a first-team All-American by the Sporting News.
During spring practices in his freshman year at Ohio State, Coleman paralyzed teammate Tyson Gentry with a tackle after the wide receiver caught a pass on a curl route in front of him. Coleman considered quitting football after that, but Gentry reportedly convinced him to keep playing.
Eight months later, Coleman’s father, Ron, was diagnosed with breast cancer. His father has fought off the disease and they formed a foundation to help raise breast cancer awareness.
Philadelphia reporters say that Coleman was a high-character person in the Eagles locker room, and it never hurts to have that type of veteran competing for a role during training camp.