He didn’t play for the Minnesota Vikings for very long, but cornerback Tae Hayes is joining the Carolina Panthers, according to Mike Kaye of Pro Football Network.
Like ex-Vikings quarterback Kyle Sloter, Hayes used the USFL as a springboard for an NFL return. Sloter joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, a former team of Hayes, about two weeks ago.
The Vikings signed Hayes in the 2020 season when cornerback depth was lacking. He played in one regular season game for the team, a 37-35 victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 17 of the 2020 season. Mike Zimmer’s coaching staff used Hayes as a special teamer.
Hayes’ resume to date is topsy-turvy, spending time with six NFL teams (including the Panthers) in on-again-off-again fashion:
He started his professional career as an undrafted free agent with the Jaguars but only played one game with the franchise. After that, the NFL-team musical chairs began.
In three seasons, Hayes has played in six career games, logging 10 total tackles, two passes defended, and a fumble recovery.
In Carolina, Hayes will join former Vikings personnel Pat Elflein (C), Xavier Woods (S), and Brandon Zylstra (WR). He faces an uphill climb to make the Panthers 53-man roster, which will be announced at the end of the month.
Hayes, 24, was teammates with former Vikings linebacker DeMarquis Gates on the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions. The Stallions won the league’s championship in July.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).