What Excitement the 2 Former Vikings Will Bring to the Table In Cleveland

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) reacts after a play against the New York Giants during the third quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

After acquiring Dalvin Tomlinson and Za’Darius Smith this off-season, the Cleveland Browns are tapping into the full former Minnesota Vikings flair around the organization.

The two former Vikings headline a bold defense in 2023 for Cleveland alongside star defensive end Myles Garrett, a linebacking corps led by Anthony Walker, and a sturdy secondary boosted by the addition of Juan Thornhill. There is already plenty of hype surrounding the offense, but the defense will certainly be out to prove their own come September.

Former Vikings Already Enjoying Cleveland

It seems like most of the new acquisitions are already enjoying Cleveland. Tomlinson, specifically, already likes the group he is working with on defense and can’t wait to see what they do on the field, according to Browns staff writer Anthony Polsal.

As Dalvin notes, “I already know what Za’Darius can do on the inside. Just watching Ogbo (Okoronkwo) and Myles on film and playing against them over the years and with all of us together and bringing all our skill sets together, I feel like it’s going to … I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s going to be amazing.”

The defense is already playing united and confident under newly-hired D-coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Browns and Vikings Ties

Besides the players, the front offices and coaching staffs for each team are linked to each other in some way. Of course, head coach Kevin Stefanski is a former Viking offensive coordinator who’s been one of the longer-tenured Browns head coaches. But Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the current Vikings GM, is already becoming one of the more recognizable front office names in the NFL after being an understudy under current Browns GM Andrew Berry through January of last year.

Goals for Former Vikings And Hype for Browns

With veteran presences joining the fold in Smith and Tomlinson, Cleveland is expected to have one of the better-rated defenses in 2023. From what early signs show at veteran minicamp, there is plenty of hype to believe in for the team.

As Polsal notes in his article, “The talk all off-season since Schwartz was hired has been about improving in the trenches, and Tomlinson believes the Browns are poised to do it because of how simple, yet effective Schwartz’s system is geared for them. Under Schwartz, defensive linemen will focus more on swarming whoever has the football rather than controlling certain gaps and working in limited space to penetrate the pocket.”

Tomlinson, a six-year veteran, also feels like the system is being aggressive, yet easy to learn. “I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a defense this simplified, especially in the NFL,” he notes. “For multiple defenses, it’d be a 3-4 (scheme) or a 4-3, but it’s a multiple defense and it depends on who you’re going to play. This one is straight-forward —– it’s just line up and go play football.”

Excitement Building Around Former Vikings for the Browns

From the get-go in OTAs and early practices, there will be an attack mindset for the Browns defense. That mindset is familiar to Tomlinson and Smith. And the two new acquisitions are already starting to mesh well into Jim Schwartz’s system. If they can be healthy and be great role models for the other stars and young pieces, these two former Vikings will be bound for some major success in the 2023-24 season.