LB Blake Cashman agrees to deal with Vikings, joining Jonathan Greenard

The Houston Texans must find a new middle linebacker as Blake Cashman joins the recently-departed Jonathan Greenard in Minnesota. According to KPRC’s 2 Aaron Wilson, Cashman agreed to a three-year deal with the Vikings with a maximum value of $25.5 million. 

Cashman, 27, got his first opportunity to be a starter with the Texans this season and rewarded them with a career year. He recorded a team-high 106 tackles, two sacks, one interception and a forced fumble. 

While playing under head coach and former linebacker DeMeco Ryans, Cashman became one of the league’s best coverage linebackers. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed the eighth fewest receiving yards among linebackers. 

According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Cashman allowed 4.5 yards per target as the nearest defender last season, the second-fewest among linebackers with a minimum of 25 targets. Minnesota paid over $100 million for the pair of Texan defenders coming off career seasons.

Before being traded to Houston in 2022, Cashman spent three years with the New York Jets. However, he could never consistently stay on the field while dealing with many injuries, hitting the injured reserve four times in three years.

In an interview with Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Alexander, Cashman expressed his desire to return to the Texans and continue playing under Ryans. However, the allure of returning home appeared to be too great to pass up.

Cashman grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which sits 20 minutes away from the U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings play their home games. He attended the University of Minnesota, starring for the Gophers. 

Houston has had an unsettling start to free agency, missing out on several marquee players and letting two of its best defenders from a year ago walk. 

Several linebacker options are left unsigned, including a few interested in Houston. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen displayed mutual interest, but it’s unclear if the Texans will match his asking price.

Azeez Al-Shaair is another name to watch for Houston. The 26-year-old free agent spent four seasons in San Francisco under Ryans.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire