MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings will open their 2021 training camp July 28, and one of the big storylines heading in will be Mike Zimmer’s rebuilt defense.
What we don’t yet know is if Jeff Gladney, who would be entering his second NFL season, will be a part of it. Gladney was arrested in Texas back in April and was accused of assault in an alleged incident involving his girlfriend. He was booked and released from custody within minutes, after posting bond.
Gladney, 24, is accused of punching, strangling and pulling the hair of a 22-year-old woman during a dispute over text messages, according to charges filed in the case. According to court documents, prosecutors are taking the case to a grand jury in Texas on July 22. That’s six days before the Vikings are set to have their first practice, open to the public, for training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.
Gladney was not in attendance for Vikings’ organized team activities, nor was he at mandatory minicamp. The Vikings have remained silent on the matter, other than a statement confirming the incident back in April.
"We are aware of Jeff’s arrest and are gathering additional information. We take this matter very seriously, as the reported allegations are extremely disturbing. At this time we will have no further comment," that statement said.
During the Vikings’ offseason workouts, Zimmer wouldn’t comment on Gladney’s status.
"We’re just letting it all play out. I really can’t say what I know, so we’ll just leave it at that."
Shortly after the incident, Gladney posted a message on Instagram that has since been deleted.
"Still hard to believe this girl tryna ruin my life all because I wouldn’t be with her," the post said.
The Vikings took Gladney with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The defensive back out of TCU started 15 of 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 81 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, three passes defended and one forced fumble.
The Vikings have not specifically addressed Gladney’s future with the team publicly, or if he has one. But some roster moves in the off-season indicate his future in Minnesota is uncertain, at best. They signed defensive backs Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander and Bashaud Breeland in free agency, and used a fourth round draft pick on safety Camryn Bynum, who could see time at defensive back.
We should get some finality on Gladney before the Vikings start training camp, one way or another.