Can CFL Stars Marcus Sayles and Bralon Addison Make the Vikings Roster in 2020?
As the Vikings look to improve their roster in 2020, they've already begun to add competitive depth from a variety of sources. The main influx of new players will come from the draft and free agency, but those aren't the only places where the team can find talent.
One unconventional source that the Vikings have tapped into this offseason is the Canadian Football League. Of the ten players they've signed to reserve/future contracts, two are from the CFL: cornerback Marcus Sayles and wide receiver Bralon Addison. The rest are players who spent 2019 on the Vikings' practice squad. Addison and Sayles are both intriguing additions at positions of need. Throughout the offseason and into training camp, they'll compete to make the team or at least stick around on the practice squad.
Sayles actually signed with the Vikings back on January 3rd, before the playoffs had begun. He spent the last two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (the franchise where Vikings legend Bud Grant began his coaching career), winning a Grey Cup title and making the West All-Star team in 2019. He played the halfback position in the CFL, which is the equivalent of the slot or nickel corner spot in the NFL. At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds with a sub-4.5 40-yard dash time, Sayles fits the mold of a small, quick nickel corner like Terence Newman or Mackensie Alexander.
During his two seasons with the Blue Bombers, Sayles recorded six interceptions – including two pick-sixes – and five forced fumbles. He had 12 interceptions during his college career at D-II West Georgia, which was enough to get him some NFL interest after going undrafted in 2017. He made brief stops with the Bills and Rams before joining the CFL. With Alexander potentially departing in free agency this offseason, Sayles could compete to make the active roster. He would need to excel on special teams as well, but that shouldn't be an issue considering Sayles blocked 13 kicks during his college career.
Addison is another interesting player. He spent the past two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, breaking out with a huge season in 2019 that resulted in him being named as one of five receivers on the CFL All-Star team. He caught 95 passes for 1,236 yards and seven touchdowns last year, adding 218 rushing yards and an eighth touchdown. Addison was a second-team All-Pac 12 honoree in his final year at Oregon, and spent time with the Broncos and Bears before beginning his CFL career.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have the Vikings' top two receiver spots locked up, and Bisi Johnson has a leg up on the competition for the WR3 role. Beyond them, Addison will compete with players like Alexander Hollins, Chad Beebe, Davion Davis, Dillon Mitchell, and a host of rookies for a spot on the roster or practice squad. His 12.2 punt return average and three touchdowns while at Oregon could be a selling point to a team that will be looking for a new punt returner.