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Vikings Quietly Added an Interesting Defender

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Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Tay Gowan. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

While forming the 2022 practice squad, the Minnesota Vikings added cornerback Tay Gowan who last played for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gowan arrived to the Eagles in 2021 as part of a trade with the Arizona Cardinals for TE Zach Ertz.

But he didn’t quite make Philadelphia’s 53-man roster for 2022, instead landing with the Vikings, where he could be called up for 2022 regular season action. Gowan is joined on Minnesota’s practice squad by CB Parry Nickerson, who was with the team in training camp and the preseason.

Jul 29, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Tay Gowan. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals drafted Gowan in the 6th Round of the 2021 NFL Draft, 24 picks after the Vikings scooped defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman from Pittsburgh — also a member of the current practice squad. Gowan experienced no regular season playing time for the Cardinals but did receive 44 defensive snaps and 32 special teams plays with the Eagles as a rookie.

In the tiny sample size, Gowan fired up a 60.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, a mark that causes intrigue. Perhaps with extended playing time, Gowan could develop into a rosterable corner.

Aug 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tay Gowan. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

Like the aforementioned Twyman, Gowan’s draft stock took a hit in 2021 when he opted out of the season at Central Florida due to coronavirus concerns. And, just like Twyman, Gowan fell to the 6th Round accordingly.

Not described as overly physical, Gowan does have the speed necessary for a starting cornerback. The Draft Scout said about Gowan during the 2021 draft cycle, “Gowan moves well enough for a cornerback his size. He has a great combination of height, length, and size which teams will covet at the cornerback position. Gowan has shown a competitiveness at the catch point. He’s also shown the ability to time plays correctly which is important considering the lack of elite speed.”

Per PFF, Gowan surrendered a collegiate 26.2 passer-rating-against in single coverage since 2019, the second-best in college football during the timeframe.

To see any playing time in 2022 for the Vikings, Gowan would need this assortment of active CBs to miss time:

  • CB1: Patrick Peterson
  • CB2: Cameron Dantzler
  • CB3: Chandon Sullivan
  • CB4: Andrew Booth
  • CB5: Kris Boyd
  • CB6: Akayleb Evans

Gowan was teammates with upstart Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis at Central Florida.


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).

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