Vikings Trade for Texans Defender, Cut Armon Watts

Vikings Trade for Defensive Lineman, Cut Armon Watts
Nov 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) runs with the ball as Houston Texans defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Via stunning roster cut, the Minnesota Vikings cut defensive lineman Armon Watts before reportedly trading for DT Ross Blacklock from the Houston Texans.

Watts was considered a lock to make the 53-man roster and was even a starter on the Vikings own depth chart.

But the Vikings new front office had different plans, ending the Watts era in Minnesota in favor of Blacklock, whose performance with the Texans isn’t exactly stellar through two seasons.

Blacklock, a 2nd-Round pick by Houston in 2020, produced a 50.4 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021. He scored a 66.4 mark via pass-rushing but a 39.0 in run-stopping. So, to date, his performance is lopsided.

The Vikings reportedly sent a 6th-Round pick to Houston and received Blacklock and a 7th-Rounder additional in return.

Dec 26, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

In two years, Blacklock, 24, had tabulated 36 total tackles, eight QB Hits, three tackles for loss, and two sacks — in 29 games. He’s started three games in his career.

After Watts’ release, Vikings fans theorized an incoming signing of Ndamukong Suh, who has been attached to the Vikings rumor mill all summer. While the Blacklock deal dampens Suh-to-Vikings, it doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) prepares to launch a pass under pressure by Houston Texans defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. © Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK.

During the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft, Pro Football Network described Blacklock’s skillset as “quick, explosive one-gap tackle with big upside” and someone who “plays smart, instinctive football and quickly locates the ball carrier.”

If the plan is to indeed start Blacklock — that was the idea for Watts — the Vikings defensive line would look like this:

  • OLB: Danielle Hunter
  • DE: Ross Blacklock
  • NT: Harrison Phillips
  • DE: Dalvin Tomlinson
  • OLB: Za’Darius Smith

Blacklock was a TCU teammate of former Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney, who tragically passed away in May.

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).

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