Former Packers defender Dean Lowry, the 28-year-old veteran lineman who appeared in 111 games for Green Bay over seven seasons, found a bounce in his step when he crossed over to the Vikings' side of the border battle.
"I would say, honestly, re-energizing," Lowry told Twin Cities reporters on Thursday during a video conference call. "I've had so much respect for the Vikings and the way they do things. This past year you could tell just the difference the feel with the team when coach [Kevin] O'Connell got there."
Lowry got an up-close look during his first visit to TCO Performance Center on Monday, when he signed a two-year deal worth up to $8.5 million. He's the latest former Packers defender brought to Minnesota by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who signed Za'Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan a year ago.
Lowry, a 2016 fourth-round pick out of Northwestern, has been a versatile defender, and he said he expects to play different interior roles in the Vikings' base and subpackage defenses. He's been credited with 23 tackles for losses, 16 pass deflections, 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in seven seasons.
Becoming a more productive pass rusher is atop Lowry's to-do list.
"That's one thing Kwesi brought up with me," Lowry said. "For most of my career, I've been a power rusher and it's really time to have a counter move to that and really improve just my pass rush toolbox to be more productive."
Lowry rejoins Vikings defensive coaches Mike Pettine and Mike Smith, who also came from Green Bay last year, but it's not clear if he'll play again with Za'Darius Smith. Smith, who had 10 sacks last season, posted a goodbye to the Vikings on social media this month, but remains on a roster that has three expensive veterans – including Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport – for two starting spots.
"It helps this transition," Lowry said of Pettine and Mike Smith, "because they know certain defenses and schemes that I've been successful in and certain situations I've excelled in. Looking forward to them communicating that to [defensive coordinator Brian] Flores and [defensive line coach Chris] Rumph."
Shelley signs with Raiders
Former Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley's journey will continue on a third NFL team after signing with the Raiders on Thursday. The 26-year-old Shelley emerged from obscurity as a post-training camp signing who eventually played big roles in eight games for the Vikings, including the playoff loss. He was credited with nine pass deflections — the first an overtime swat in Buffalo's end zone — and an interception while allowing a team-best 60.9 passer rating when targeted, per Pro Football Focus.
The 5-foot-9-inch cornerback was a late-round Bears draft pick in 2019. He got his first NFL interception against Chicago in the Vikings' regular season finale. He'll face another former team next season as the Vikings are scheduled to travel to Las Vegas.
The Vikings currently have five cornerbacks under contract: Byron Murphy Jr., Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, Tay Gowan and Kalon Barnes. Patrick Peterson signed with the Steelers this month. Chandon Sullivan and Kris Boyd remain free agents.