The Arizona Cardinals remained a busy team on Tuesday. As part of their latest set of roster moves, they brought in former Vikings LB Blake Lynch. The linebacker ultimately signed with the Cardinals even after visiting with the Carolina Panthers on Monday. Arizona also added K Rodrigo Blankenship after releasing Matt Ammendola on Monday.
Lynch played his college ball at Baylor, and he spent five years with the Bears before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2020. Lynch actually began his college career as a wide receiver before transitioning to the defensive side of the ball. In 2016 and 2017 combined, he recorded 51 catches for 674 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Then, in 2018, Lynch transitioned to the safety position, and he recorded 47 tackles including 4 TFLs and 1.5 sacks. Additionally, he recorded his first collegiate interception in Week 11 against Texas Tech. 2019 brought the third consecutive season with a position change, and this time Lynch finally landed at his NFL position of linebacker.
During that senior season, Lynch took another step forward as a defender, recording 68 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, and 3.5 sacks. He also intercepted a pair of passes and recovered a fumble.
Despite the improved play on the defensive side of the ball, and evident versatility between linebacker and safety, Lynch did not find a suitor in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, the Vikings brought him in as an UDFA where he ultimately was waived and signed onto Minnesota’s practice squad for the 2020 season.
During 2020, he appeared in four games for the Vikings and even made a Christmas Day start in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints. Of course, that is the game where Alvin Kamara infamously rushed for six touchdowns against the Vikings defense. Overall, he finished his rookie season with 12 tackles and one pass defense.
2021 saw an expanded role for Lynch as he appeared in 16 of the 17 regular season games for the Vikings. He became a crucial piece of the Vikings special teams, but the linebacker also made six starts on defense. During the season, he recorded 35 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and a TFL. He also recorded his first career NFL interception against the Chicago Bears in Week 18.
Lynch now heads to the Arizona practice squad after the Vikings waived him prior to the start of the 2022 regular season. Minnesota had acquired third-round pick Brian Asamoah and free agent Jordan Hicks during the offseason, meaning they didn’t have room for the third-year linebacker.
If he ends up seeing some time with the Cardinals active roster, there’s a chance he could take the field against his former team in Week 8 as Arizona travels to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the Vikings on October 30th.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.