Did the Vikings Suh Armon Watts?
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings were set to waive defensive tackle Armon Watts. Watts was expected to be a starter on the defensive line in defensive coordinator Ed Donatell’s new 3-4 scheme. Rather than keep him around, he was waived and jettisoned to the Houston Texans for Ross Blacklock. There must be more at play here.
Armon Watts was expected to start at defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings this season. He experienced a breakout 2021 season, and the arrow appeared to be pointing straight up. After being sent to the Texans for a backup option in Ross Blacklock, another domino must be expected to fall.
Watts had a base salary of $2.54 million for the 2022 season. That’s hardly a substantial amount, but it does check in higher than Ross Blacklock’s $1.332 million. The former Texans defensive tackle was expected to be a backup and gives the Vikings a slight amount of salary cap savings. Going from a starter to a depth addition suggests another domino is set to fall.
Earlier this offseason, I questioned how badly the Vikings needed Ndamukong Suh. Sure, he’s been beyond a ruthless competitor in seasons prior, but there’s no denying the amount of ability. With Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter on the outside, putting Suh in the middle could help to push Minnesota’s defensive front among the best in the entire league.
Still unsigned, Suh’s greatest detractor, according to reports thus far, has been an inability to reach the dollar amount he’s seeking. Now up against the clock of the regular season, Suh doesn’t need to play in exhibition games and should be expected to sign in short order. This move from Minnesota very well could have freed up the space necessary to get the deal done.
Regardless if this move was made with Suh in mind or not, Blacklock should not be viewed as a starting candidate and leaves plenty to be desired in the trenches on the defensive front. The Vikings will need to figure out how to answer that and put their best foot forward when stuffing the run and attacking the quarterback.
All offseason, it seemed as though a fit between Suh and the Vikings made a good deal of sense. Until the pact is signed off on, however, none of the speculation will matter. Ideally, Minnesota can get a pass rusher that stuffs the middle and leaves the shenanigans to the side. Either way, Vikings fans may need to put aside previous feelings in hopes of having the best team on the field.
Right now, the Vikings can’t employ a better team than when they cut Watts, but clarity could come soon.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.