In 2017, Eric Wilson made the Minnesota Vikings roster as a special teamer.
He was undrafted out of Cincinnati, but showed enough to potential to earn a job. This year he has been relied upon in key spots, filling in for three games while Anthony Barr was out and on Sunday against the Detroit Lions for Eric Kendricks, who missed the contest with a hamstring injury.
Wilson finished the game with eight solo tackles, three for loss and one sack.
“I know that he missed a couple tackles…but I thought overall he played well, he beat the [running back] on a blitz one time and sacked [Matthew Stafford], I thought he did a nice job in coverage for the most part,” head coach Mike Zimmer said.
The Vikings’ head coach noted that the Lions were looking to take advantage of his team being short handed at linebacker by using bigger personnel packages.
”They were not going to let [Anthony] Barr effect the game today, which we kind of assumed would happen,” Zimmer said. “That’s why some other guys were going to get opportunities.”
Over the last two years, the Vikings have increased their emphasis on signing undrafted free agents. The prize of this year’s UDFA class Holton Hill has played significant snaps on the defensive side and UDFA rookie receiver Chad Beebe earned a spot over former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell.
“These college free agents, the more of these types of guys we can get to help and hopefully develop them into football players are big,” Zimmer said.
According to the Star Tribune, the Vikings spent $316,000 on undrafted free agents last year.