Now a Minnesota Viking, DT Sheldon Richardson Is Already in Eagan

Sheldon Richardson
Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (93) during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

That didn’t take long.

Less than 24 hours after the Minnesota Vikings announced a restructured agreement with EDGE rusher Danielle Hunter, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson signed [again] with the franchise, nailing down his services in Minnesota for one year and $3.6 million.

And, he’s already in Eagan at mandatory minicamp.

There they are — the two merchants of Vikings news amid the last day.

Richardson spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns in 2019 and 2020, the “final” season with former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. In Cleveland, Richardson notched 33 pressures in two seasons while playing about 73% of all defensive snaps. When the Browns inked Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, Richardson became expendable, although the two men play different positions.

At three-technique defensive tackle, Richardson will instantly upgrade the Shamar Stephen-Jaleel Johnson sandwich the organization ate since Richardson left the Vikings. And that’s in addition to two other new men in the middle of the defensive line — Michael Pierce at nose tackle and Dalvin Tomlinson at 3DT.

It is a longshot that head coach Mike Zimmer would switch his defensive scheme to a 3-4. However, the team is deficient a true-blue EDGE rusher opposite Danielle Hunter. So, here is this factoid:

The plan might be to use Stephen Weatherly as the starting RDE, fully planning to intertwine Richardson at the EDGE spot with some frequency. That’s if the Vikings do not sign Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, or Everson Griffen. General Manager Rick Spielman has the funds available to sign one of those EDGE options. It remains to be seen if that is on the agenda.

Richardson reached the Pro Bowl in 2014 with the New York Jets. He is not a stat machine, instead showcasing a steady balance of run-stuffing and rushing the quarterback. Since he entered the league in 2013, Richardson’s 461 total tackles are third-most in the NFL among DTs, trailing Damon Harrison (494) and Linval Joseph (471).

Here’s a look at Richardson’s career log via Pro Football Focus grade:

  • 2013 = 76.5
  • 2014 = 84.6
  • 2015 = 71.0
  • 2016 = 76.3
  • 2017 = 72.2
  • 2018 = 69.5
  • 2019 = 73.9
  • 2020 = 71.1

Richardson will get a crack at his old team, the Browns, on October 3rd when Kevin Stefanski and Co. come to U.S. Bank Stadium for a Week 4 showdown.