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Minnesota Football: Gophers in the NFL Week 1

Ryan Santoso gets screwed by Carolina

New York Jets v Carolina Panthers
The toe is in the NFL!
Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

And the 2021 NFL season is officially underway. Multiple Gophers dressed in Week 1 of the NFL season last week, with some having better days than others. A few others ended up getting that late phone call and now are on practice squads across the league who were free agents at this time last week. Below is a recap of how the former Minnesota Gophers did in the NFL this week and a look ahead to this upcoming weekend's games.

Maxx Williams— Tight End— Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 @ Tennessee Titans

Week 2 vs Minnesota Vikings

Williams played 80% of the offensive snaps against the Titans last week in Arizona’s blowout win. 55 snaps on offense, but not a stat to be recorded for Maxx. He was targeted once by Kyler Murray but the pass fell incomplete. Now he gets a chance to go against his hometown team when the Vikings come to town this weekend.

Chris Streveler—Quarterback—Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 @ Tennessee Titans

Week 2 vs Minnesota Vikings

Streveler was inactive as the third QB for Arizona last weekend and did not dress for the game.

Eric Murray-Safety Houston Texans

Week 1 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2 @ Cleveland Browns

Murray played all 74 defensive snaps for the Texans in their win over Jacksonville. He recorded four solo tackles and two assisted tackles. This week the Texans head to Cleveland to play a pissed off Browns team.

Damien Wilson—Linebacker—Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 1 @ Houston Texans

Week 2 vs Denver Broncos

Damien Wilson played in 77% of the snaps for his first game as a Jag in their loss to the Texans last week. In the 60 defensive snaps he played he recorded one solo tackle and added six assisted ones.

De’Vondre Campbell—Linebacker—Green Bay Packers

Week 1 @ New Orleans Saints—in Jacksonville

Week 2 vs Detroit (MNF)

In Campbell’s Green Bay debut he played 93% of the defensive snaps in the blowout loss to the Saints. In 56 defensive snaps he recorded five solo tackles and added an assisted one.

Blake Cashman—Linebacker—New York Jets

Week 1 @ Carolina Panthers

Week 2 vs New England Patriots

Cashman just can’t seem to catch a break as for the second year in a row he suffered a hamstring injury—this time in the opening game after playing just eight snaps against the Panthers and not recording a stat. Cashman once again was placed on Injured Reserve and will miss at least the next three games for the Jets.

Ryan Santoso —Kicker—Carolina Panthers/ Free Agent

Week 1 vs New York Jets

Week 2 ???

Welcome to the NFL Ryan Santoso. Well at least the NFL where you do more than kickoff. Santoso scored his first NFL points for the Panthers in their win over the Jets. He was 1-2 on extra points, but 2-2 on field goals knocking down a 22 and a 29 yarder to finish the game with 7 points.

Then he saw the dirty side of the NFL. Santoso was released by the Panthers on Tuesday solely because Carolina now does not have to send the Giants a 7th round pick for him because he was not on the active roster for 2 weeks. They signed Zane Gonzalez off of the Lion’s practice squad where he will be required to stay on the Panthers active roster for at least three weeks.

Hopefully Santoso can sign with another NFL team soon and get back into the league, but what a brutal business it is...

Antoine Winfield Jr. —Safety—Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 1 vs Dallas Cowboys

Week 2 vs Atlanta Falcons

To no surprise Winfield Jr just picked up where he left off last season in the opener for Tampa Bay. He played all 84 defensive snaps and recorded five solo and three assisted tackles in Tampa’s crazy win over Dallas.

Tyler Johnson-WR-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 1 vs Dallas Cowboys

Week 2 vs Atlanta Falcons

On the opposite side of the Tampa spectrum is Tyler Johnson. Stuck behind a back log of players Johnson played just three snaps in the game against the Cowboys. He was targeted by Tom Brady once but the pass fell incomplete. Hopefully he gets more action in week 2 vs Atlanta.

Carter Coughlin-LB-New York Giants

Week 1 vs Denver Broncos

Week 2 @ Washington Football Team (THF)

Coughlin played just four defensive snaps in the Giants loss to Denver last weekend and did not record a stat. This week his Giants head to Washington for Thursday Night Football.

Benjamin St. Juste—CB—Washington Football Team

Week 1 vs Los Angeles Chargers

Week 2 vs New York Giants

Benjamin St. Juste made his NFL debut against the Chargers last weekend and...well it was a bit rough. He played 58% of the defensive snaps for WFT and made four tackles in his 47 snaps. Unfortunately he was picked on a bit by Justin Herbert and the Chargers and gave up six catches including the game winning TD by Mike Williams. Definite room for improvement.

Rashod Bateman—WR—Baltimore Ravens

Bateman remains on IR and is eligible to come back in Week 4 against the Broncos.

Practice Squad updates:

The number of ex-Gophers in NFL practice squads this week is up to five from three a week ago. Rodney Smith remains on the Panthers practice squad and joining him is ex—Packer Kamal Martin who was signed last week.

Chris Williamson is on the Falcon’s practice squad, Briean Boddy-Calhoun is on the Titans practice squad, and signing last week was former Gopher DB Kiondre Thomas who was signed by the Chargers to their practice squad.