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Vikings sign Calvin Avery as undrafted free agent

The former Illini defensive tackle gets his shot in the NFL.

Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite not hearing his name called this weekend, Calvin Avery is getting his shot.

The Minnesota Vikings signed Avery as an undrafted free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 345-pound defensive tackle spent five seasons in Champaign. After being primarily a rotation piece his first four seasons, Avery carved out a big role on the Illini’s top-ranked defense in his final year.

As a senior in 2022, Avery started all 13 games on the Illini defensive line and proved extremely reliable as a block eater and run stuffer at the nose tackle position. He recorded 24 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein had this to say about Avery, listing him as a priority free agent for teams after the draft:

Teams won’t find tackle-for-loss production or disruption as a pass rusher when they watch tape of Avery, but they will find a wide-framed space-eater willing to battle for his gaps inside. Avery displayed an impressive combination of power and hip explosion at his pro day. He has some bully in him against single blocks but can be a little too straight-legged, which causes inconsistency in his anchor against edge pressure. He’s an early down, rotational nose tackle but could find NFL work even if he goes undrafted

Avery committed to Illinois as a four-star prospect out of Dallas, Texas in the Class of 2018. He’ll now have a chance to compete for a roster spot in Minnesota.