EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have signed defensive end Datone Jones, the former first-round pick of the rival Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings finalized the one-year deal on Tuesday with Jones, who was selected 26th overall out of UCLA in the 2013 draft. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Jones played in 59 of a possible 64 regular-season games, mostly as a backup.
He was primarily a defensive end in Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme but also played some outside linebacker. The versatility developed will serve him well for the rest of his career, but he never quite found the right fit with the Packers. The Vikings could also use him as a defensive tackle in passing situations.
“There’s never been a steady role or steady position for me,” Jones said on a conference call with Minnesota reporters. He added: “I’ve got a chance to actually prove myself.”
Jones has nine sacks and seven passes defended in his career. The Packers previously declined their fifth-year option on his contract that is built into every first-round pick’s deal.
Jones was a college teammate of Vikings starting linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, whom he peppered with questions about the coaches, scheme and team as he was considering signing with the Vikings. Now he’ll join them in trying to retake the NFC North title from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
“Aaron knows,” Jones said. “He knows I’m coming hungry.”
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