George Iloka: 'The Vikings just came out of nowhere'

The Bengals released him on Sunday and he signed with the Vikings Wednesday.
Author:
Publish date:

George Iloka was sitting down to eat dinner with his wife when his agent called and stunned him with news that the Cincinnati Bengals were releasing him on Sunday.

Forty-eight hours or so later he was stunned again with the Vikings called to see if he was interested in joining the defending NFC North champions.  

"The Vikings just came out of nowhere pretty much, late last evening," said Iloka on Wednesday, just hours after signing a one-year deal with the Vikings. "Talked to Zim (head coach Mike Zimmer) and the ball just got rolling real fast. I would even say they weren't an option two days ago because there was no communication with them."

In a nutshell, Iloka summed up his decision to come to Minnesota over other suitors because he likes Zimmer coaching style and wanted to play for a contender. 

"I know coach Zim, have a good relationship with him," Iloka said. "I'm comfortable with the system, the playbook. And this is a good team. They were real close last year, they were on the brink of making it to the Super Bowl."

Iloka added that the new facilities helped make his decision a "no brainer." 

Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati when the Bengals picked Iloka in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Iloka believes he already knows 80 percent of Zimmer's defensive playbook, and that the biggest adjustment will be learning new terminology and philosophy that Zimmer has added since leaving the Bengals to coach the Vikings in 2015.  

"My expectation is to just come in, compete and help this team out any way I can," Iloka said, nothing that his goal is to simply "add depth." 

Iloka practiced with the Vikings during Wednesday's morning walkthrough and he was wearing No. 28, the number that used to belong to Adrian Peterson. Iloka, however, says he'll most likely pick a different number. 

"Honestly, the roster is full right now. They just rushed me from plane to practice and that was the only number available so they just threw me in it," he said. "Obviously what AP did for the Minnesota Vikings, no one can match. Future Hall of Famer. He's an elite running back." 

Next Up

police tape, crime scene

Man and woman, aged 55 and 62, found dead in their home

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz: COVID-19 guidance for Christmas likely to be similar to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving featured a ban on social gatherings with non-household members.

CCI 3

Mall of America is offering a virtual Santa experience this year

People can virtually tour Santa's Candy Cane Institute.

PD Shimmers 4

Annual guide to finding holiday lights displays in MN is released

More than 80 holiday displays are on this year's list.

duluth police department

Duluth police officer charged in September shooting

The officer, who is a five-year veteran, is charged with two felonies.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 1.31.42 PM

Enbridge gets final approval to start construction on Line 3 replacement

The project has attracted criticism from environmental and tribal groups.

Kirk Cousins

Is it a 4-team race for the final NFC playoff spot?

The key for Minnesota likely requires winning on the road against two top NFC teams.

coronavirus

Nov. 30 COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations reach new high mark

There are fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available in Minnesota.

Related

Vikings make it official, sign veteran safety George Iloka

Iloka has been an above average safety for the last five seasons.

Dalvin Cook inactive, George Iloka starting for Andrew Sendejo

It could mean more Latavius Murray against a bad Arizona run defense.

Diggs officially doubtful for Vikings-Texans; Smith out

The Vikings will likely be without leading wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Sunday.

Diggs officially doubtful for Vikings-Texans; Smith out

The Vikings will likely be without leading wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Sunday.

Vikings fans, U.S. Bank Stadium

Wide Left: Vikings draft hopes? Just address the damn O-line

Introducing "Wide Left," a new column chronicling the emotional rollercoaster of a Vikings superfan.

5 players to watch closely during Vikings-Seahawks

Could rookie Brian O'Neill win the starting job at right tackle?