Vikings add former second-round pick to their 2021 practice squad

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Nate Orchard
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Nate Orchard /

On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings signed defensive end Nate Orchard, a former second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.

Without Danielle Hunter on the field last season, the Minnesota Vikings struggled mightily to generate any pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Following Hunter‘s most recent significant injury, the Vikings are doing what they can to avoid a repeat of what happened last year in his absence.

With a limited amount of funds to currently work with, Minnesota announced the signing of defensive end Nate Orchard to their practice squad on Thursday. Orchard was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Will Nate Orchard find his way onto the active roster for the Minnesota Vikings this season?

Since he was drafted in 2015, Orchard only ended up remaining with the Browns for three years before he was cut just prior to the start of the 2018 regular season.

After that, the 6-foot-3, 251-pound pass rusher has had stints with the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Washington Football Team, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans.

During his NFL career, Orchard has accumulated a total of 85 tackles (11 for a loss), 16 quarterback hits, six sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and an interception in 46 career appearances.

A breakout senior season at Utah in which he racked up 18.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss created a lot of intrigue from NFL teams heading into the 2015 draft. Unfortunately, Orchard hasn’t been able to recapture the pass-rushing magic he discovered in his final year of college during his time in the league.

Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson has a reputation of getting the most out of his pass rushers. So maybe he can do the same for Orchard?

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For now though, he’s just a depth piece that Minnesota will keep on the practice squad until someone on the active roster goes down with an injury.