During this season’s training camp we’re all essentially at the will of what the Minnesota Vikings give us in terms of information. For the typically tight-lipped (then randomly loose-lipped) Mike Zimmer, that means we’ve got little to go on thus far into camp.
Apparently that tight-lippedness is a recessive allele in the Zimmer family, as his son Adam Zimmer spoke with Vikings media Wednesday about many things, but as is relevant to this article, the battle for the recently vacated nose tackle spot on the defensive line.
As you’ll recall, the Vikings let stalwart Linval Joseph walk into free agency, then signed a free agent of their own in Michael Pierce who worked out great and then they won the Super Bowl!
Wait, these are the Vikings and nothing ever works out how it is supposed to.
Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season, which lead the Vikings to trade a 7th-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for PJ Hall (who your annoying friend would tell you graded higher in 2019 than Pierce according to PFF), pending a physical.
Then? Everything worked out and the Vikings won the Super Bowl.
Hall failed his physical because apparently PJ stands for peanut butter and jelly? Eh? I know. I have brought shame to myself and thus my family.
That left the Vikings scrambling pretty late into the game for an answer at one of the most pivotal spots on the defense. That topic was one that the younger Zimmer discussed during his call and said:
“We’re going to give a couple guys looks. Shamar Stephen’s done it before and he’s as good a nose (tackle) as there is. We really think a lot of him. He’s really good in the running game. He’s an extremely smart player. I know the linebackers have an immense respect for him because he lets them flow and make plays. So I think he’ll have the ability to fill that role.”
While he also said that guys like Armon Watts and longtime favorite of mine, Jaleel Johnson, have a shot but it sounds like Stephen is going to be the guy going into the season, assuming there is one and barring some sort of training camp cut from another team that’d fall into the Vikings’ lap.
Then, perhaps, everything could work out and the team could win the Super Bowl?