Christian Wilkins, Gardner Minshew Share Their Excitement To Join Raiders

Mar 15, 2024, 2:33 PM


Gardner Minshew #10 of the Indianapolis Colts is defended by Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins opened his introductory news conference with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday by emulating his new coach, Antonio Pierce.

“Raiderrrsss!” Wilkins exclaimed before allowing the first question to be asked, in the same exuberant manner Pierce displayed following each victory after he took over coaching duties in the middle of last season.

Wilkins agreed this week to a four-year, $110 million contract, and quarterback Gardner Minshew agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal. Both players shared their excitement about joining the Raiders as the franchise prepares for its first offseason under Pierce.

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman wore a three-piece, window-pane-themed black suit with white stripes, lined on the interior with playing cards, as he embraced his Sin City surroundings.

“I’ve had this thing for a little while but no better time than now to bring it out,” Wilkins said. “Vegas is obviously a great city, great place. There’s a lot to be excited about. Coach Pierce, his energy, and the things the team was able to do last year toward the end and during his time taking over. There’s a lot of great teammates, a lot of things to be excited about.”

Wilkins spent his first five seasons with Miami. He had a career-high nine sacks in 2023. Overall, he’s played in 81 games and recorded 20 1/2 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, 19 defended passes, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. He should form an impressive duo with star edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

“There’s one big reason to definitely want to come here, and that’s number 98,” Wilkins said, referencing Crosby. “He’s obviously a heck of a player and I got a lot of respect for who he is and how he operates and how he plays. … Maxx is one of two of my favorite players in the league just because he does things the right way, just that work ethic, that grind and just how he does everything the right way.”

Wilkins will be reunited with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who had that job in Miami when he was drafted in 2019. That’s one of many reasons he feels like the Raiders are a good fit.

“I’m just such a character, just such an animated, sick, twisted individual,” he said. “I just love the game. I love the grind. You just feel that here. Just people who just love ball, just great energy and you can just kind of tell everybody’s accepting of who everybody is, and everybody’s just already themselves.”

Unlike Wilkins, Minshew will have to compete for playing time.

Las Vegas lacks a clear-cut starting quarterback after releasing veterans Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer. Aidan O’Connell was the starter for the majority of last season, but the Raiders could still make a move to bring in another QB.

Minshew started 13 games for Indianapolis last season, filling in capably after Anthony Richardson was injured.

“I’m always looking for opportunities to compete and this is a great one here,” Minshew said. “Excited to get in and compete with a team that I feel has a chance to be really good. I always have two goals for myself everywhere I go: get better and have fun. So, I look forward to getting here, working really hard, and to enjoy it.”

Minshew completed 305 of 490 passes (62.2%) for 3,305 yards, with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and had an 84.6 passer rating last season.

RELATED: Raiders Agree To Hire Antonio Pierce As Their Next Head Coach, AP Source Says

Having played in several systems for Jacksonville (2019-20), Philadelphia (2021-22) and Indianapolis, Minshew is confident he’ll be able to catch on under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello.

“I think at this point in my career, bounced around in college, bounced around a little bit in the NFL, so feel very confident in the ability to learn the offense, pick it up,” Minshew said. “And that’s one of the things I’m really excited to just dive into.”

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Las Vegas Raiders


Kyle Ireland

Report: L.A. Rams Sign Former Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The Los Angeles Rams and former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo agreed to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network.

1 month ago

Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders Hunter Renfrow released...

JOSH DUBOW AP Pro Football Writer

Raiders Release Jimmy Garoppolo And Hunter Renfrow In Cost-Cutting Moves

The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing Jimmy Garoppolo and Hunter Renfrow to give the new regime more room to operate under the salary cap.

1 month ago


Kyle Ireland

Andre James Re-Signs With Las Vegas Raiders

Herriman Mustangs product and veteran NFL offensive lineman Andre James agreed to re-sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, according to his agent.

1 month ago


Kyle Ireland

Report: Raiders ‘Not Expected’ To Franchise Tag RB Josh Jacobs

The Raiders plan to avoid the franchise tag with Josh Jacobs and will try to re-sign him to a new deal, according to Adam Schefter.

2 months ago


Mark Anderson, AP

NFL Suspends Raiders Backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo For Violating PEDs Policy

Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo was suspended by the NFL on Friday for the first two games of next season for violating the PED policy.

2 months ago


Mark Anderson, AP

Allegiant Stadium’s Roll-Out Field, Space Station Look To Be Center Stage During Super Bowl In Vegas

Allegiant Stadium, with its black facade, in fact resembles the ominous space station from the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Christian Wilkins, Gardner Minshew Share Their Excitement To Join Raiders