Duke Shelley reveals how little the Vikings offered him to re-sign

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Duke Shelley
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Duke Shelley /

Before signing with the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason, former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley wasn’t offered much to remain in purple.

After the impressive performance he had with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2022 season, many were surprised to find out on Thursday that free-agent cornerback Duke Shelley had agreed to a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Most figured the Vikings would want to bring Shelley back for the 2023 campaign, but judging by an offer to the cornerback that he recently shared in a reply to a post on Instagram, it doesn’t seem like Minnesota really wanted to keep him around for another year.

Why were the Minnesota Vikings okay with Duke Shelley leaving to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders?

Even though Shelley has been in the league since the Chicago Bears selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the 2022 campaign with the Vikings was easily the best season of his pro career.

Shelley ended 2022 with the league’s fourth-highest overall defensive grade from PFF among all qualifying cornerbacks. In addition, his allowed completion percentage (48.9) ranked seventh among all qualifying cornerbacks in the NFL last season, and his passer rating allowed when targeted (59.6) ranked ninth.

Judging by the $1.2 million per year offer that Shelley alleged he received from Minnesota this offseason, the team clearly didn’t think the cornerback’s success in 2022 was worth a lucrative reward.

It’s also possible that the Vikings just don’t view Shelley as a good fit for their defense in 2023 under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

Flores’ aggressive scheme requires his defense’s cornerbacks to be reliable on their own in both man coverage and as a run defender.

Shelley would have probably been fine on his own in man coverage. But his smaller frame (5-foot-9, 176-pounds) has resulted in him struggling as a run defender during his NFL career. In 2022, Shelley’s run defense grade from PFF ranked 78th out of 109 qualifying cornerbacks, and in 2021, his run defense grade ranked 112th out of 118 corners.

Compare these performances against the run to the newest cornerback on Minnesota’s roster, Byron Murphy, who ranked 21st out of 109 corners in PFF run defense grade in 2022, and it’s not difficult to understand why the Vikings were okay with Shelley signing elsewhere this year.

On a Minnesota defense that didn’t give fans much to be excited about during the 2022 season, Shelley was one of the team’s few bright spots on that side of the ball. He certainly played a significant role in the Vikings being able to finish the 2022 campaign with 13 wins.

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