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The Vikings appear to be at somewhat of a crossroads when it comes to the defensive tackle position. On the surface, they appear set to simply continue with the guys they have, but it could also be much more complicated than that.
Kevin Williams is set to make $7 million for each of his two remaining seasons under his current contract, but that salary no longer aligns with his declining production and he is likely going to be approached about taking a pay cut, which can sometimes end up in a player’s outright departure.
Prior to the 2012 season, Letroy Guion received a three year contract worth $9 million which suggested the Vikings had faith in his ability to be an effective starter next to Williams, but he did little to instill full confidence during the first year of his new contract. Fred Evans did a nice job in spelling either starter and should be retained through the last year of his contract.
Still, from tackle to safety, it is common for observers to assume the Vikings would like to strengthen the middle of their defense. Defensive tackle is a position that cannot afford to take a step backwards and the Vikings front office should be very interested in any opportunity to improve. Free agency might offer some help:
Chicago’s Henry Melton is only 26 years old and played like an absolute monster in the final year of his rookie contract. He was by far the Bears best defensive lineman in 2012 and they will not part with him easily. This guy kind of reminds me of a young Kevin Williams with his ability to be disruptive in the passing game, but he isn’t going to be anyone’s savior against the run. There are some worries out there that Melton’s stardom coming about during a contract year wasn’t a coincidence, but there are going to be teams willing to assume that he is every bit as good as he showed last season.