Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

5 Things to Know About Vikings 1st-Round Pick Jeff Gladney

EAGAN, Minn. — Jeff Gladney has been described as feisty.

He also can be described as a first-round pick thanks to the Vikings, who tabbed the cornerback with the 31st overall pick after trading down from the 25th spot and netting a pair of picks.

Gladney, a senior out of TCU, measured at 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds.

Although the 5-10 height is sometimes a threshold for the minimum height at cornerback, Gladney's arms are listed at 31 7/8 inches, giving him an impressive wingspan.

"Gladney reminded me of a lot of guys that played similarly for me in the past," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "Very good acceleration. Tough, competitive kid. Wants to challenge receivers. Good in and out of the breaks. Long arms. So you know, I know he's a shorter guy, but I think he makes up for it with his toughness and his length."

Here are five things to know about the new Vikings cornerback:

1. Experience counts

Gladney redshirted in 2015 as he recovered from a torn ACL and LCL that he suffered in the opening round of the high school playoffs during his senior season.

Over the course of the next four seasons, Gladney started 42 of the 50 games he played for the Horned Frogs.

He also is coming to the Vikings from the pass-happy Big 12 in which he improved from Honorable Mention (2017) to Second-Team (2018) to First-Team (2019) All-Big 12 honors.

2. Stingy defender

In 2019, Gladney tied for second in the conference with 15 passes defended, including 14 pass breakups (led Big 12 and tied for eighth-most nationally).

As a junior, Gladney was rated No. 1 in the Big 12 by analytics site Pro Football Focus with an allowed passer rating of 46.9 (minimum of 200 coverage snaps). He recorded 15 passes defended in 2018.

3. First time for everything

Gladney is the first TCU player ever drafted by the Vikings in a first round and just the eighth TCU player since 1960 to be drafted in the round. 

Gladney also became the first player ever drafted by the Vikings at the 31st overall spot since the pick has fallen in the first round. Minnesota tabbed Mike Hughes at 30 in 2018 and Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in 2014, which was the last time that the Vikings made two selections in the first round before Thursday's selection of Gladney and Justin Jefferson at No. 22.

4. Continuing the trend

Gladney is the fifth Vikings cornerback drafted in a first round and third since Zimmer's hire in 2014.

He joins Hughes (2018), Trae Waynes (2016), Xavier Rhodes (2013) and Dewayne Washington (1994) on the list, and he will be tasked with helping fill the void created by the offseason departures of Waynes, Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander.

5. Down home

A native of New Boston, Texas, Gladney adapted to live, in-person draft events in Las Vegas being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Came home. Out in the country. Had a little barbeque, fish fry. Made the best of it," Gladney said. "It was still great. Definitely great to be around all the fam'."