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The Vikings, already with the league's deepest secondary, landed another starting-caliber safety

By Jonathan Jones
August 23, 2018

The already-very-good Minnesota Vikings got even better when they signed free-agent safety George Iloka on Wednesday. And with his signing came a refreshing dose of obvious honesty from head coach Mike Zimmer.

“Honestly we’re just trying to add good football players and we’ll let it all sort out at the end,” Zimmer told the media.

Last year’s top-ranked unit in total defense is, on paper, better and deeper than last season. Iloka, who previously worked with Zimmer in Cincinnati, comes in knowing “probably 85% of the calls” and could essentially unseat Andrew Sendejo, pairing with Harrison Smith. The Vikings have an embarrassment of riches in their defensive backfield. Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are backed up by Mackensie Alexander, Terence Newman and rookie first-rounder Mike Hughes.

Any coach with that glut of talent must be able to manage egos, because quality players aren’t keen on riding the bench. But Zimmer is likely banking on wins taking care of that, and that’s why he’s so confident that this will work itself out once the season gets underway.

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1. The league announced Wednesday that there would be no changes to the new helmet rule, but that “inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or facemask is not a foul.” In essence, the league is saying that everyone needs to give this time as players, referees and coaches figure out how to adjust, but also that they will lighten up slightly on incidental contact. Make sense? (Jenny Vrentas has more...)

2. Everyone knows that Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson hasn’t had a great start to his preseason. Now the Ravens are worried that he’s taking too many hits.

3. Former Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson spent all 11 seasons in Charlotte and announced his retirement Wednesday.

4. Indy Star columnist Gregg Doyel wrote a scathing column of the Colts after the team gave a “hero’s goodbye” to their longtime announcer who retired shortly after using the n-word.

5. The Chiefs released RB Charcandrick West. The Jets cut kicker Cairo Santos. The Patriots released WR Kenny Britt.

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The Vikings gave George Iloka the No. 28 jersey once he got to the team facilities for practice, but he’s not going to wear the legendary number long. Iloka figures to switch out of Adrian Peterson’s old number once things settle down.

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