How tough was new Minnesota Vikings linebacker Nick Vigil when growing up? Well, he rode bulls at the age of 10.
Then again, he shrugs that off.
“They’re just like miniature bulls,’’ the Plain City, Utah, native said Tuesday in a Zoom call with the media. “So not full-grown.’’
Vigil agreed to terms with the Vikings on March 15 and finally came to the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday to sign his contract. He said the delay was due to “some personal stuff going on back at home that I had to take care of.”
Vigil got a one-year, $1.75 million deal, with $1.05 million guaranteed, including a $450,000 signing bonus. He could earn as much as an additional $550,000 with incentives.
On the Zoom call, Vigil talked about how he and his brother Zach rode bulls in a rodeo when they were growing up outside Ogden, Utah, until Zach had a scary fall. It turned out to not be a serious injury but their parents put an end to the riding when Nick was about 10 and Zach about 12.
“My mom told my dad, ‘No more rodeo. They got to play football,’’’ Nick said.
Football has worked out just fine. The brothers both went on to star at Utah State and play in the NFL.
Zach was a linebacker with Miami and Washington from 2015-18. And Nick is entering his sixth season after spending four years in Cincinnati and last year with the Los Angeles Chargers.
During Nick Vigil’s first two seasons with the Bengals, the defensive coordinator was Paul Guenther, now a Vikings senior defensive assistant. His presence played a big role in Vigil ending up in Minnesota.
“I’m very familiar with the system,’’ he said. “It’s really appealing to me.’’
Vigil started 37 of the 38 games he played with the Bengals from 2017-19 but started just two of the 15 he played in 2020 with the Chargers. It is expected he will compete with second-year man Troy Dye to be the Vikings’ third starting linebacker alongside Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, and he also is adept on special teams.
“They reached out right when the legal tampering period opened, so we kind of talked to them all day long, for about eight or nine hours that whole day,’’ Vigil said of March 15, which was the first day teams could begin negotiations with free agents on other teams. “In talking with my agent, we felt like it was a good fit.’’
While Vigil’s bull-riding days ended prematurely, he said he grew up also doing a lot of hunting, fishing and horseback riding. His love for the outdoors provides another appeal on coming to Minnesota.
“I’m a big outdoors guy,’’ he said. “I’m excited to see what they’ve got going on around here and get out and maybe do some hunting and fishing.’’
As of Tuesday night, there was no indication the report had been released yet by the Dallas Police Department on the arrest of Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney. Gladney turned himself in to the Dallas County Jail on Monday and posted a $10,000 bond on a charge of third-degree felony family violence assault from an alleged incident last Friday involving a 22-year-old female.
On the move
Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, released by Minnesota on March 16, agreed to terms Tuesday with Denver, whose general manager is former Vikings executive George Paton. And free-agent defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, who is not likely to return to Minnesota, took a visit to Houston.
Vikings guard Dakota Dozier earned a team-high $561,951 from 2020 in NFL performance-based payouts, which are based on playing time and benefit players the most who were on low-end salaries. He was followed by tackle Brian O’Neill ($461,925), defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo ($362,983), who is now with the New York Giants, Johnson ($338,580) and tight end Tyler Conklin ($315,733). Due to a COVID-19 settlement, players won’t get the money until 2024 at the earliest.