CFL’s leading receiver Brandon Zylstra to sign with Vikings: report

Receiver Brandon Zylstra is set to sign with Minnesota’s NFL team, according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Vikings are expected to sign coveted CFL receiver Brandon Zylstra, the former star at Concordia-Moorhead and New London-Spicer High School, to a reserve/future contract on Wednesday, a league source told the Star Tribune.

He led the CFL with 1,687 receiving yards on 100 receptions adding five touchdowns in 2017 and was named a 2017 all-star. The 24-year-old broke onto the scene with 508 yards in six games last year.

The future contract means Zylstra will be added to the Vikings’ 90-man offseason roster once the 2018 league year begins in March. The Vikings currently have Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell and Stacy Coley under contract through at least next season.

Zylstra played collegiately at Concordia College in Minnesota totalling 1,932 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in 29 games adding 25 rushes for 394 yards and five touchdowns along with 39 kick returns for 885 yards with the Cobbers.

When he entered the NFL draft in 2016, Zylstra attended the North Dakota State pro day recording a 4.64 4o-yard dash, 34-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump and pressed 225 pounds 16 times on the bench. He went undrafted in the NFL and signed with the Eskimos on May 30, 2016.

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22 Comments on CFL’s leading receiver Brandon Zylstra to sign with Vikings: report

  1. He’s gone, when he returns (and he will), he will be like the rest of the duds who thought they could make it in the NFL and come back with less skill then he had last year. He signed a futures contract, which is basically nothing but he gets to be put on their 90 man roster, for now.

    • Wow Ollie! Even for this site you’re a giant turd.

      • hey Tony, I am only stating a fact. A futures contract is nothing but a pipe dream and has 0 money tied to it for the player. Its a chance of a hope and a dream is all.

        • Jeff Garcia's Agent // January 3, 2018 at 3:59 pm //

          Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a chance. Look at Brian Peters. He signed a futures deal with Minny, was waived and claimed by Houston and has spent the last three seasons, earning over $1,500,000 as a special teams player.

          Look at receivers that went down and stuck like Andrew Hawkins, Dontrelle Inman and Chris Matthews. And guys like Derel Walker, Dressler, S.J Green and Jamel Richardson, that went down, came back and have been impact players.

          Simply writing Zylstra is vastly narrow sighted.

        • There is a strong chance he got a little change to sign and guaranteed money.

    • I agree. I’m not quite sure why any player would lock himself up by signing a futures contract. Unless it included a rare signing bonus and it doesn’t appear as though Zylstra’s deal included a signing bonus. No guarantees for the player making him exclusive property of the team so again, why would any player sign a futures contract?

  2. Scottsask // January 3, 2018 at 2:27 pm //

    Still can’t believe he didn’t get a legitimate NFL shot the first time around.

    • DIII school. The NFL has been drafting more and more DII players since 2000 but I think DIII is still off their radar, as it probably should be. I think a better question is, how on earth did he end up playing at a DIII school?

  3. Any shot at the NFL is worth it for these guys.

  4. White Horse // January 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm //

    Zylstra, D. Walker, Eric Rogers etc. Man it is tough to crack a NFL roster. Crem-Dela-Crem only gets to the top. Says something for Jeff Garcia etc or is it ‘the right place at the right time…as did Garcia’s father’s influence get him the 49ers try out. However, you still have to maintain a performance level to remain there. (such as Cameron Wake)

  5. It’s a shame that CFL players get suckered into signing futures contracts as it’s basically nothing but lunch money during training camp. It only pays off if they make the 53 man roster.

    Ironically, in the end it has little to do with talent. At an NFL training camp, CFL players get lumped in with the UDFA no-hope scrubs. They’re just there to be pylons for the anointed ones – those drafted high up and given guaranteed money, plus the vets and FAs.

    Unless a CFL player gets a large chunk of guaranteed money, they will not be given the opportunity to show what they can do. They will spend the entire cam with the scrubs and if they’re luck, get in one or two plays in preseason when the decisions have already been made.

    The average CFL player is at a distinct disadvantage going into an NFL camp as he has to reorient his body away from the CFL cardio game to the NFL explosive power game. that transition doesn’t happen overnight, plus he has to adjust to a new team, rules and play book.

    He also has to deal with coaches who don’t want him (see Chris Williams at the Bears camp). NFL coaches have their favourites and CFL players don’t make the list. Politics trumps talent, even in the NFL.

    I wish him well, but he’ll be back and unfortunately will never recover his CFL game after the NFL experience.

    • I agree Bill based on lots of players coming back and not being the same. I would say most of them this happens to. Not sure why, it may be they are demotivated and have lost a bit of desire but it is a fact most of the time.

      • Some of them no doubt is based on loss of motivation, but I think a lot of it revolves around how their confidence gets destroyed by NFL coaches who do not value them. See what DeCamillis did to Williams at the Bears camp. Before the Bears camp, Williams was the most dangerous returner in the CFL. After DeCamillis was finished with him, Williams was useless as a returner. DeCamillis as the ST coach had no influence over Williams as a receiver and he did well with Ottawa in that capacity. Speaks volumes as to the corrosive influence of NFL coaching on a CFL player.

    • There’s a lot of truth in this, but I think you do go a too far in some places. NFL teams do look for talent but politics is ALSO an issue, and sometimes a big issue, and an unknown CFL player is often going to be the victim of it.

      The signing bonus or guaranteed money is key. That’s the sign that they truly like you and you have a real shot, and it can also tip the politics in your favour, if they’ve already given you money.

      I think players who come back usually do regain their former level of play, but sometimes they don’t and that can be because part of their success before going down was due to the system they were playing in, and if they come back and someone else has taken their job, and they have to move on to another team, then the fit might not be as good and they may not reach the same level.

      • The best teams in the NFL place talent before politics. The worst are the other way around. This is true about all organizations everywhere.

        One of the truest statements I have ever read, “The incompetent cannot judge competence in others.” That applies equally well to NFL teams as it does to every other organization on the planet.

  6. Scottsask // January 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm //

    I won’t disagree with you there. Weston Dressler was never the same.

    • Meh, I think he pretty much was/is. He has had more injury issues since coming back, however. Remember that his best year was only 1200 yards, so he was never a league all-star caliber player. He was more like an occasional western all-star caliber player.

  7. I think Zylstra’s gone for good, btw. I think what separates him from other receivers who haven’t stuck in the NFL in recent years is his consistency. He was just rock solid game after game, and consistency is a big deal in the NFL.

    • I totally agree that consistency is a big deal in the NFL. Duron Carter has the physical skills to be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver on any NFL team, but he only delivers those skills when he is in the mood. As a consequence, he plays in the CFL

      In Zylstra’s situation, he has to get noticed in camp before they can recognize his consistency. For that to happen he has to get meaningful reps in preseason games. Unless thunderbolts from Thor strikes the Vikings training camp, I don’t see it happening.

  8. Vikings have a history of signing undrafted local kids and giving them a shot. In 2013 they brought on a receiver out of Detroit Lakes, Mn./ Minnesota State by the name of Adam Thielen who’s worked out pretty well with 91 receptions for almost 1300 yards this past regular season. They also brought on undrafted Marcus Sherels from Rochester, Mn./the U of Minnesota back in 2010 and he’s been their prime kickoff/punt return specialist ever since. Zylstra, I’m certain, is well aware of the Vikings history and if he has NFL talent it will be recognized.

  9. Regardless if a CFL guy gets a bonus or not his ONLY chance of making a roster either practice or active he has to get SIGNED to some type of contract. Some like John Chick, Cam Wake and Eric Rodgers get modest or in Wakes situation a HUGH BONUS. Chick came back and has done well as many others have if they GET OVER being cut by the NFL and recommit their careers to the CFL. The ones that don’t get over the mental part of it simply fade away.

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