Kicker Riley Patterson is among 10 undrafted free agents the Vikings agreed to sign after this weekend's NFL Draft.
Patterson, the former Memphis standout, has an open path to the Vikings' job as he'll compete with fellow newcomer Greg Joseph, the journeyman who signed earlier this offseason. They're guaranteed just $20,000 and $35,000, respectively, with the Vikings giving Patterson a $5,000 signing bonus, according to a league source.
Patterson was one of the nation's best kickers in 2019, when he converted 23 of 25 field goals, including all but one of six tries from 50-plus yards. But last year wasn't as consistent, as he missed five times from beyond 50 yards in a 15-for-22 season. He did boot a 56-yarder, showing the potential that landed him in Minnesota, where he could replace released veteran Dan Bailey.
The Vikings also agreed to sign receivers Blake Proehl (East Carolina), Whop Philyor (Indiana) and Myron Mitchell (UAB); linebackers Tuf Borland (Ohio St.) and Christian Elliss (Idaho); defensive end Zeandae Johnson (Cal); running back A.J. Rose Jr. (Kentucky); and long snapper Turner Bernard (San Diego St.), according to the players' agencies and universities.
The 10 known additions bring the roster to 84 players, leaving six openings. Minnesota's rookie minicamp is scheduled for the May 14-15 weekend.
"I don't know if we'll get to 90 [right away]," general manager Rick Spielman said Saturday after the draft. "We still have a lot of time for rookie minicamp. There are still some guys out on the street that we may be looking at from vet free agency, as well."
'Whop' among three new WRs
The Vikings drafted speedy receiver and return specialist Ihmir Smith-Marsette (Iowa) in the fifth round, but Spielman agreed to sign three more receivers after the draft.
Philyor may be the most intriguing of the bunch. He was an elusive and tough slot target at Indiana, where he had 70 catches for 1,002 yards in 2019. His full name is Mister Elias De'Angelo Philyor; his nickname "Whop" derived from his Burger King adoration as a child.
Proehl, the son of former NFL receiver Ricky Proehl, comes from East Carolina, where he put up a couple big games – 152 yards vs. SMU and 182 yards vs. Tulane – to end his college career.
Mitchell latched on quickly at Alabama-Birmingham, with 63 catches for 990 yards and seven scores in his only two years there. He was a coveted junior college transfer who first committed to Texas Tech.
Another undrafted rookie signed by the Vikings has strong nickname game: Ohio State's Tuf Borland, formerly known as Jarred. Borland joins ex-Buckeye J.T. Barrett as the only three-time captains in Ohio St. history. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten choice in two years since returning from an Achilles injury in 2018.
The Vikings also agreed to sign Idaho linebacker Christian Elliss – another son of a former NFL star. His father, Luther Elliss, is the former Lions first-round pick and Pro Bowl defensive tackle. The young Elliss recently participated in Idaho's spring season with 50 tackles in five games.
'We'll see' about workouts
After rookie minicamp, voluntary on-field workouts for all players are scheduled to start May 17. But the Vikings became the 20th team last month to say "many of us" won't attend voluntary offseason sessions amid the pandemic, via a statement through the NFL Players Association. Spielman said he's expecting at least three quarterbacks – rookie Kellen Mond and reserves Jake Browning and Nate Stanley – to report May 17. What about everyone else?
"We'll see," Spielman said. "Our main focus [now] is on these rookies and getting the best players in here and then letting everything else evolve as it goes through the spring."