Per Alex Marvez, the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with nose tackle Linval Joseph, formerly of the New York Giants.
Despite looking at a number of players in free agency that have had a number of systems’ experience under their belt, they were able to sign a deal with the youngest, and perhaps best, one-technique defensive tackle on the market.
Mike Garafolo (of Fox Sports, same as Alex Marvez) reports that the deal will likely be in the $6M+ range.
Linval Joseph is 25 years old, and will turn 26 years old midway through the season. He doesn’t have extraordinary statistics that you would more likely see come from an undertackle like Henry Melton or Kevin Williams, but he does plug the run extremely well. He has had 9.0 sacks in the previous three years, which is more than what fellow 1-tech and previous Vikings Pat Williams was able to do in any three-year stretch with the Vikings.
Linval Joseph is unique, in that at 328-pounds, he could have played 3-technique coming out of college. He has a good first step and is both strong and quick with a good understanding of leverage, though was weak at consistently lowering his pads coming out of East Carolina.
He is supposed to be good for a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme because of his ability to anchor, length (with astonishing 34.5″ arms) and quickness, although the Giants have almost exclusively used him in a one-gap role.
At the NFL Combine, Joseph didn’t have quick 40-time, but his 10-yard dash was extremely good for a man his size (1.75 seconds) and a mind-boggling 39 reps on the bench press reinforced his reputation for strength.
Per ProFootballFocus, he ranked 21st of all DTs in both 2013 (of 69) and 2012 (of 85) with a positive grade, and in both years, ranked in the fifth of all primarily 1-technique players. This is an exciting signing for a team whose run defense suffered in large part due to having some of the worst nose tackle in play in the NFL, courtesy of recently cut DT Letroy Guion.
UPDATE: The Vikings have given Linval Joseph a five-year, $31.5 million deal, which comes out to $6.3 million. That’s good money for a young player who should keep producing.