Bears Claim Vikings Surprise Cut

Bears Claim Vikings Surprise Cut
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Armon Watts. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings made one huge, surprising move on Tuesday, as they had to trim the roster from 80 to just 53 players.

They cut 2021 starter Armon Watts. The defensive tackle was fully expected to be, once again, in that starting role in 2022. However, the front office around Kwesi Adofo-Mensah waived their defender.

The Bears claimed Watts, and he’ll play for the Vikings’ division rival in 2022. Meanwhile, the Vikings traded for his replacement when they got Ross Blacklock from the Texans in exchange for a late-round pick swap.

Did the Vikings Suh Armon Watts?
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Armon Watts. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

The former Vikings defensive tackle enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 and was in line to start in 2022, especially after the switch to a 3-4 defense.

In 2021, Watts recorded five sacks and was one of the bigger threats in the passing game compared to the struggling play of the defensive ends. Chicago now has to pay his contract that includes a $2.54 million cap hit in the final year of his deal.

He’ll join a Bears team that lacks talent in all areas. On defense, the Bears have star pass rusher Robert Quinn who recorded 18.5 sacks in 2021. The other star is linebacker Roquan Smith, but he requested a trade a few weeks ago.

Matt Eberflus was the surprise hire for a head coach after the Bears let go of former HC Matt Nagy. He’s a defensive-minded coach and has the task of rebuilding a dominant defense.

On offense, however, the Bears are a disaster. Justin Fields is the quarterback. He has talent himself, but not a lot of talent around him.

Watts’ new employer lacks receiving threats. Darnell Mooney had over 1,000 yards last year. Behind them, the depth is a mess. It includes 25 years old rookie Velus Jones and a bunch of veterans — Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, N’Keal Harry, Tajae Sharpe, Dante Pettis. The Vikings shouldn’t be too concerned about the Bears, even if they always struggle against them. No matter how bad a divisional opponent is, it’s always tough to beat them.

Parkston, SD, native Riley Reiff. © USA Today via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The offensive line is among the worst in the league, even after signing former Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff. They claimed another player that could help the line down the road — Alex Leatherwood.

The offensive tackle came out of Alabama, and the Raiders selected him in the first round of the 2021 draft. Most considered the pick a reach. The Vikings picked Christian Darrisaw just six picks later and are very happy with him. His tenure in Las Vegas ended after just one year. They tried him at tackle and guard, but he didn’t live up to his college tape. A disastrous pick can try to get his career going in Chicago. Just like with Watts, the Bears inherit his contract.

The Vikings, meanwhile, did not claim a player off waivers. Either that or someone above them in the order claimed him as well. They can still choose to sign players in a huge pool of free agents.

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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