Vikings sign Lawrence

Simoni Lawrence played linebacker for the Gophers in 2008 and 2009.

by Dane Mizutani

The Minnesota Vikings signed former Gophers linebacker Simoni Lawrence, he confirmed in an interview with the Minnesota Daily on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a blessing because at the end of the day, this is my dream to play in the NFL,” he said. “It’s awesome.”

Lawrence played for the Gophers in 2008 and 2009. He said playing college football in the Twin Cities played a role in his decision to pick the Vikings.

“It just seemed like a good fit for me,” he said.

Lawrence recorded 85 tackles in his senior campaign. He went undrafted and never stuck on an NFL roster.

He then tried his luck in the UFL and CFL, trying to work his way back into the NFL.

Now, four years later, he has accomplished his mission. 

“These last four years have been fun because I was always playing football somewhere,” he said. “That was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life playing football.”

Lawrence played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the CFL last season and finished the year with 52 tackles and three interceptions. He said NFL teams started to reach out again in November after the CFL season ended.

The Packers, the Chiefs and the Chargers were among the other teams that expressed interest in the linebacker. He said he weighed his options before ultimately choosing the Vikings.

In November, Leslie Frazier was still the team’s head coach, but the Vikings fired him at the start of the offseason. Mike Zimmer has since been hired as a replacement head coach. 

Lawrence said the coaching change did not deter his interest in the organization.

“It didn’t influence my decision at all,” he said. “I respect the kind of person [Zimmer] is, and that’s just someone I’d love to play for.”

Lawrence wouldn’t go into great detail about how the team planned to use his skills and said he knows his spot on the roster isn’t guaranteed.

“You always have to compete for everything in the game of football,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun offseason … and I can’t wait.”