EAGAN, Minn. – Minnesota on Saturday signed free agent linebacker Quentin Poling, who most recently was with the Raiders in 2019.
The Vikings released running back Tony Brooks-James.
Originally a seventh-round draft pick (227th overall) by Miami in 2018, Poling has also spent time with the Falcons and Raiders. He played one game in Oakland last season.
Poling joins a Vikings linebackers room that also includes Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Eric Wilson, Ben Gedeon, Cameron Smith, Troy Dye, Jordan Fehr, Blake Lynch and DeMarquis Gates.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of January 4, 2021.
Here are five things to know about Poling:
1. 'Hat tricks' of picks and sacks
Poling attended Ohio University, where he played middle linebacker in the Bobcats 4-3 defense. He earned First-Team All-Mid-American Conference honors as a junior and senior, both seasons helping Ohio finish in the top 10 nationally against the run.
Poling was the first Ohio player to be named first-team all-conference in consecutive seasons since 2010-11 and the first linebacker to do so since 2005-06.
In just his fourth collegiate start as a redshirt freshman, Poling tied the Bobcats single-game interception record when he snagged three picks against Akron. Against Toledo as a senior, he tied the school single-game sacks record with three against QB Logan Woodside, an eventual seventh-round pick by the Bengals.
2. Multisport athlete
Poling garnered attention for his performance at Elida High School, where he finished with 509 tackles, 20 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and nine interceptions. He was named First-Team All-Ohio in both his junior and senior seasons and was a three-time All-Northwest Ohio honoree. In each of his final three years at Elida, he helped lead the team to the state playoffs, including appearing in the Ohio State Semifinals his junior year.
In addition to football, Poling also completed on the varsity track team and varsity wrestling team. He joins a number of Vikings who also have wrestling backgrounds, including left tackle Riley Reiff, guard Pat Elflein and defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.
3. Impressed at pro day
Although Poling was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he impressed at his pro day in Ohio. Poling was clocked at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash; had he participated in the combine, that time would have come in third-best among linebackers behind only Shaquem Griffin (4.38) and Roquan Smith (4.51).
In the other testing and timing drills, Poling recorded 24 reps of 225 pounds at the bench press, 38 inches in the vertical jump and 127 inches in the broad jump.
4. Ohio native
Poling is one of four Ohio natives on the Vikings roster. Having grown up in Gomer, Ohio, a population of just 124, he joins Gedeon (Hudson), defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (Centerville) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati).
5. Family man
Poling and his wife, Shelby, welcomed a daughter in June 2018. His social media posts show he's a proud dad.