Brandon Zylstra and Brett Maher make NFL

Dallas Cowboys (Wikipedia Commons)

Two former Canadian Football League stars have made the National Football League for the 2018 regular season. Former Edmonton Eskimos wide receiver Brandon Zylstra has made the Minnesota Vikings and former Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks kicker Brett Maher has made the Dallas Cowboys.

Zylstra played two seasons with the Eskimos in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, when Zylstra was a CFL all-star, he caught 100 passes for a CFL leading 1687 yards. Zylstra had 225 yards more than S.J. Green of the Toronto Argonauts, who was second with 1462 yards. Zylstra also had 100 receptions (fourth in the CFL) and five touchdown catches.

Maher was with the Redblacks in 2014 and 2015, Tiger-Cats in 2016 and Redblacks again in 2017. A CFL East All-Star for his punting in 2017, Maher also did very well in place kicking. In 2016 with Hamilton and again with Ottawa in 2017, he successfully kicked 41 field goals in 50 attempts.

In the NFL, Zylstra will begin the season as a third receiver for Minnesota and backup Stefon Diggs on the right side. The Vikings have a new quarterback in the offseason as they signed Kirk Cousins to a three year deal worth $84 million on March 15. Last season the Vikings had a quarterback trio of Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. Keenum is now with the Denver Broncos, Bradford is now with the Arizona Cardinals and Bridgewater is now with the New Orleans Saints.

Maher meanwhile will be the starting kicker for the Cowboys. In an interesting move, the Cowboys brought on Maher, and cut veteran Dan Bailey, who had been with the Cowboys from 2011-2017 and represented Dallas in the Pro Bowl in 2015. However a groin injury during the 2017 NFL season, made Bailey expendable, opening the door for Maher.

In week 12 CFL action, the Montreal Alouettes won their second straight game by beating the Ottawa Redblacks 21-11. The Saskatchewan Roughriders moved into second place in the West after beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31-23 and because the Calgary Stampeders beat the Edmonton Eskimos 23-20. Also on Monday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats moved to .500 at 5-5 with a 42-28 win over the Toronto Argonauts.


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