A new face joins the defensive line
The injury bug bites the Minnesota Vikings again, as the team lost defensive tackle B.J. Dubose to a torn ACL last week. The second-year defensive end suffered the injury during organized team activities (OTAs) and limped off the field under his own power.
According to the Vikings’ official website, Dubose has been waived and will now hit the waiver wire. Other teams have 24 hours to claim Dubose before he reverts back to the Vikings’ injured reserve list, per Andrew Krammer. Dubose was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and did not appear in any games for the Vikings.
To fill the roster and replace Dubose, the Vikings signed journeyman nose tackle Bruce Gaston. An undrafted free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, Gaston has played for five other franchises, including the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. His most recent stint came with the Bears, where he totaled 11 tackles (8 solo), four quarterback hurries, one tackle for loss, and one sack.
Gaston was a standout for the Purdue Boilermakers, playing in 50 consecutive games and starting all but six during his collegiate career. He finished with 131 total tackles and seven sacks before declaring for the NFL Draft in 2014. Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com projected Gaston as a fifth or sixth-round selection, saying this about the 6’2″, 316-pound defensive tackle:
“Good-sized, experienced defensive tackle with a nice combination of strength and athleticism to contribute as a rotational player in a 4-3.”
The draft team at CBS Sports shared in Nawrocki’s analysis, projecting Gaston as a player who “brings high character and high effort” from college to the NFL. Like Nawrocki, CBS Sports concluded that Gaston “should provide quality depth at the next level,” and that’s likely what he’ll be for the Vikings.
Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd top the depth chart, followed closely by rotational defensive tackles Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen. Gaston will fight for time behind Kenrick Ellis, who the team re-signed this offseason.