6 free-agent returners the Vikings could sign in 2021

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Cordarrelle Patterson
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Cordarrelle Patterson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Tavon Austin /

Tavon Austin

Tavon Austin is another guy who has bounced around quite a bit since being the No. 8 pick by the St. Louis Rams back in 2013. He has been with four teams and in 2020, he played for the hated Green Bay Packers.

Austin is just a smaller guy measuring in at 5-foot-8 and179 pounds dripping wet. While he isn’t big in stature, he is extremely large in the world of punt returning, and he’s a player who is still very dangerous, even at the age of 30.

Austin is extremely quick with great acceleration and burst. He can change directions in the blink of an eye and he has a great feel for how his blocks will set up.

He’s scored three punt return touchdowns in his career, averaging about eight yards a return. He hasn’t returned a kickoff since 2017 though. So if the Vikings brought him in, he’d likely be looked at as strictly a punt returner, but he could potentially compete to handle the kick duties as well.

Austin probably wouldn’t be very expensive. He made just over $1 million last season and he should be getting offers in the range again this year.

Minnesota can definitely swing that and if they sign him, they’d be getting a veteran returner who still has some explosiveness to him. He could also be used on offense on gadget plays, and as injury insurance to the receiver corps, giving the team plenty of value out of an inexpensive investment.