Ndamukong Suh Signs with Vikings Rival
Vikings fans were hopeful about the signing of former superstar defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Rumors were ongoing since the offseason, but he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles instead. The Eagles are just like the Vikings 8-1 and sit at the top of the NFC because of the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Vikings.
Sources around the league spoke of ‘mututal interest’ between Suh and the Vikings. However, Suh is not the hot commodity he was in the past when he haunted Vikings’ passers. In 11 games, he managed to sack the Vikings passer 8.5 times. Only Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews had more sacks against the Vikings since 2010.
The defensive tackle played five seasons in Detroit, three in Miami, one with the Rams, and three in Tampa Bay. He is a Super Bowl champion, three times first-team All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler, and was part of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.
He’ll turn 36 years old right before Week 18. Suh is no longer the player he once was. His PFF grades illustrate that reality. Between 2012 and 2018, his grades were always around 80. In 2019, the grade dipped to 69.6, in 2020 to 62.4 — and in 2021, he returned a below-average grade of 52.4.
Suh could’ve helped the Vikings as an additional interior pass rusher and rotational player, but it’s not neck-breaking that he chose to join the Eagles instead. The Vikings have gotten wonderful contributions from their starters, Harrison Phillips and Davlin Tomlinson. They each recorded 1.5 sacks in 2022, and their run defense has been excellent. Tomlinson missed a couple of games with a calf injury, and James Lynch, Ross Blacklock, Jonathan Bullard, and Khyiris Tonga had to step up.
Blacklock is playing the potential role that Suh could’ve had if he had signed in Minnesota. He already recorded 8 pressures in limited game action. The Vikings try to keep their defensive line fresh and substitute a lot during the game.
The Eagles did just sign a new defensive tackle on Wednesday when they brought in former Vikings’ run-stuffer Linval Joseph. Joseph signed a one-year deal, just like Suh on Thursday. Their star rookie, Jordan Davis, is on injured reserve and set to miss at least another couple of games.
The running defense was a struggle in the win against the Texans two weeks ago and the loss to divisional rival Commanders. A team susceptible, especially to the inside run, adds two defensive tackles. How much the two have left in the tank has to be seen. Joseph played on the worst rushing defense in football in 2021, the Chargers.
Suh, meanwhile, is no longer capable of playing as the strong run defender and turned his attention to rushing the passer a couple of years ago.
The two additions will play next to aging veterans Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham and form one of the oldest defensive line groups in the league. That could become a factor in the postseason after a long season.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt
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