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Bears and Vikings Enlist "Spy" Help

The Bears signed a former Vikings player to their practice squad while the Vikings have added a former Bears seventh-round draft pick.

Is this a football version of the old Mad magazine series, Spy vs. Spy?

The Bears and Minnesota Vikings appear to be engaged in "gamesmanship" or just plain old spying by bringing in former players to milk information from and the like. Sure, they're also looking for players as rebuilt teams, but a little extra data on the opponent never hurts and they play each other Sunday in Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, the Vikings signed Khyiris Tonga away from the Atlanta Falcons practice squad. This meant they had brought in a player who was a seventh-round Bears draft pick and actually with the Bears last year and right up to the start of this season.

They can squeeze some fresh information from Tonga, although it's also likely they also view him as real potential defensive line help. 

For one, they brought him onto their 53-man roster immediately so it's not like he was a practice squad addition.Tonga fits the 3-4 as a nose tackle at 335 pounds but didn't really fit what the Bears were doing this year. He was a Ryan Pace acquisition whose playing style is more for their old defense as a two-gapper.

Meanwhile, the Bears signed Jalyn Holmes, a former Vikings player who is a 6-5, 283-pound defensive end and tackle. Holmes was a fourth-round Vikings draft pick.

There is a huge difference here, though. For one, Holmes was signed to the practice squad.

Also, Holmes wasn't with the Vikings last year. He was there from 2018-20 and made 43 tackles in nine starts and 25 games. He was with New Orleans last year for eight games. 

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So the Bears must see something in Holmes that could be of help.

Holmes wasn't in the current Vikings defensive scheme at all under former Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell, the new Minnesota defensive coordinator.

However, the Bears do have Ihmir Smith-Marsette on the roster and he was with the Vikings until right before this season. They also have defensive tackle Armon Watts, who was with the Vikings in camp this year before being cut.

Watts had been a key contributor last year in a 4-3 with the Vikings but didn't seem to fit their new scheme this year.

So if it's spying you're after, both sides have some. It's football spy vs. football spy.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven