Vikings add quarterback David Blough to practice squad
Blough played the past three years for NFC North rival Detroit
The Vikings on Thursday picked up a familiar face to be their third quarterback.
Minnesota reached an agreement to sign David Blough to the practice squad. Blough played the past three years for NFC North rival Detroit and got plenty of air time recently on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.’’
Blough was waived by the Lions on Wednesday. The Vikings landed him after they waived quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion on Tuesday. They had hoped to keep one for the practice squad, but Mond was claimed by Cleveland and Mannion joined Seattle’s practice squad.
Blough had all five of his career starts in 2019, losing them all. One start was on Dec. 8, 2019 at Minnesota, when he completed 24 of 40 passes for 205 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in Detroit’s 20-7 loss.
In his NFL career, Blough has thrown for 1,033 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions and has a passer rating of 62.2.
Minnesota has two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in starter Kirk Cousins and backup Nick Mullens.
The Vikings signed two players to the practice squad Thursday, and will be up to 15 when Blough officially signs. The squad limit is 16.
Minnesota signed wide receiver Travis Toivonen, who is from Red Wing, Minn. He played at North Dakota before being signed as an undrafted rookie by Seattle in 2021. After being let go by the Seahawks, he spent 2021 on the practice squad of the New York Giants before being waived Monday.
The Vikings also made official the signing to the squad of cornerback Tay Gowan, who arrived in Minnesota for a visit on Wednesday night and passed his physical Thursday.
Bears claim another
The Chicago Bears picked up wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette on Thursday, marking the second straight day they claimed a player off waivers from the Vikings.
Smith-Marsette was claimed after the Vikings let him go Wednesday when they needed a roster spot after acquiring receiver Jalen Reagor from Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the Vikings waived defensive lineman Armon Watts, and he was claimed Wednesday by Chicago, an NFC North rival.
Smith-Marsette entered the preseason as Vikings’ first-team punt returner but then struggled. Watts was first on the depth chart throughout the preseason but the Vikings opted to waive him after reaching a deal to acquire defensive lineman Ross Blacklock from Houston.
As a rookie last season, Smith-Marsette, caught five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. In the season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium, Smith-Marsette caught three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown against Chicago.
Smith-Marsette in the preseason had a muffed punt and lost a fumble on a return. Enter Reagor, who has averaged 9.2 yards on 35 returns in two NFL seasons.
“We’re going to give him every opportunity to (return punts),’’ said Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. “We have some other guys on the roster we feel good about if need be, but Jalen’s excited about that opportunity. … He’s our best option in our opinion to give us a chance to impact the game.”
Salary cap issues
Based on information from analyst Jason Fitzgerald, the Vikings are expected to have just $2.28 million of salary-cap room after they sign all 16 players for the practice squad.
“I’ll continue to say that every NFL team has challenges,” said general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. “They set rules for us and it’s our job to overcome these rules and constraints to optimize our team.”
The Vikings did save $1.45 million when they traded guard Jesse Davis on Tuesday to Pittsburgh, but Davis still carries dead money of $800,000 this season and $750,000 in 2023. Davis got a signing bonus of $1.5 million when he signed as a free agent in March to presumably start at right guard but he was traded after losing the job to rookie Ed Ingram.
“We were able to find an opportunity for Jesse to go start, which at this point in his career he’s done a lot and deserves a chance to,” Adofo-Mensah said of the six-year veteran.
Vikings punter Ryan Wright will wear No. 14, which had been Mannion’s number. Wright only can wear a number between 1-19 in the regular season after having 66 in the preseason.
Also, Reagor will wear No. 5 after having No. 18 with Philadelphia. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson, taken one spot after Reagor at No 22 in the 2020 draft, has 18 for Minnesota.
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