Multiple former Vikings draft picks returning to the field this weekend

Former Minnesota Vikings DE Kenny Willekes
Former Minnesota Vikings DE Kenny Willekes / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

As the current members of the Minnesota Vikings front office and coaching staff continue to prepare for this year's NFL Draft at the end of April, some former members of the team's roster will be taking part in actual competition this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, the United Football League (UFL) will hold its first four games ever, and a number of former Vikings will be taking part in the action.

The UFL was formed back in December after the XFL and USFL were approved to merge together. It's another opportunity for some of Minnesota's former players and others to showcase their skills in an effort to land with a team before the start of the 2024 NFL season.

Multiple former Minnesota Vikings players to take part in the 2024 UFL season

The first matchup of the UFL's inaugural season is between the Birmingham Stallions and Arlington Renegades, and it will take place on Saturday at 12 p.m. CST in Arlington, Texas.

Both the Stallions and Renegades currently have former members of the Vikings on the roster. Below is the list of former Minnesota players and coaches who will be in action this weekend and for the rest of the 2024 UFL season.

Arlington Renegades

Myles Dorn - S (with the Vikings from 2020 to 2022)

Birmingham Stallions

Neville Clark - CB (2020)
Jaylen Twyman - DL (2021-2022, drafted by Vikings with a sixth-round pick in 2021)

DC Defenders

Jordan Ta'amu - QB (2023)

Houston Roughnecks

Toby Johnson - DL (2015-2016)

Memphis Showboats

Case Cookus - QB (2021)
John DeFilippo - Head Coach (Vikings offensive coordinator in 2018)

Michigan Panthers

Danny Etling - QB (2021)
Cole Hikutini - TE (2018)
Kenny Willekes - DE (2020-2022, drafted by Vikings with a seventh-round pick in 2020)

San Antonio Brahmas

Zach McCloud - OLB (2022)

St. Louis Battlehawks

Chris Claiborne - Linebackers Coach (Played for the Vikings from 2003 to 2004)
Wayne Gallman - RB (2021)

Some of the most notable former Vikings involved in the UFL this season are definitely Twyman, Case Cookus, Kenny Willekes, and former Minnesota offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

DeFilippo was hired to run the Vikings' offense in 2018, and after failing to run the ball enough to the liking of former Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, he was fired following a Week 14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Twyman and Willekes are currently the only two players on a UFL roster who were actually drafted by the Vikings.

Twyman was believed to be a steal of a draft selection after Minnesota first landed him. But he was unable to play at all in 2021 after he needed to recover from injuries he sustained during an off-the-field incident that resulted in him getting shot four times. He returned to the team in 2022 and spent some of the 2022 season on the Vikings' practice squad.

Willekes was someone Minnesota took a chance on with one of their final selections in the 2020 draft. Unfortunately, multiple injuries resulted in him only appearing in a total of six games during his three years with the Vikings.

More Vikings News and Analysis