Former Vikings Goon Could Land with NYJ

Former Vikings Goon Could Land with NYJ
Sep 15, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

‘The Big Goon’ has been a free agent for months, and he may soon find employment with the New York Jets, a team 4-2 through six weeks.

He’s Linval Joseph, and the Jets hosted the nose tackle for a free-agent visit and workout on Friday.

Joseph, 34, last played for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020 and 2021 but spent six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings from 2014 to 2019. Before his Vikings career, Joseph was selected by the New York Giants in the 2nd Round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent four years alongside Eli Manning. He even won a Super Bowl with the Giants.

Jan 2, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

A fan favorite, Joseph was absolutely beloved in Minnesota. He was an anchor for the Mike Zimmer-led defenses that pestered the NFC North for about five seasons. From 2015 to 2019, right in Joseph’s breadbasket with the Vikings, Minnesota ranked second in the NFL per points allowed, only trailing the dynastic New England Patriots in the timeframe.

But then in 2020, multiple Vikings defenders jettisoned in free agency, including Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Everson Griffen, and Joseph — and Zimmer’s cherished defense never recovered. Joseph wound up with the Chargers and is now seeking his fourth place of employment.

Major Pieces from 2017 Vikings Defense Now Undesired
Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes

In June, Joseph curiously posted a video to his Instagram account, showing himself at the Vikings headquarters in Eagan. Folks spitballed a possible Vikings reunion, but it never materialized.

The Jets current starting defensive line consists of John Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins, Quinnen Williams, and Carl Lawson. If Joseph signs in New York, he’ll serve as a depth piece for the suddenly-good Robert Saleh-led Jets.

In 171 career games, Joseph has tallied 644 total tackles, 75 QB hits, 56 tackles for loss, 25 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. He’s also a two-time Pro Bowler, with the Vikings in 2016 and 2017.

The Jets already roster a handful of former Vikings — Tyler Conklin (TE), Mike Remmers (RT), Dru Samia (G, PUP), and Chazz Surratt (LB, PS). Per FiveThirty Eight, New York has a 38% chance of reaching the 2022 postseason.

The Vikings and Jets square off in 44 days at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Jets defense ranks 11th in the NFL per defensive EPA/Play.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).