1st Vikings Rookie Agrees to Deal

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings came out of the draft with six new players. Jordan Addison, the top player of the rookie class, will have a big impact on the offense as the new running mate of Justin Jefferson, which will result in plenty of single coverage for the rookie.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added three players to the struggling defense. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores gets a couple of defensive backs as reinforcements. Jay Ward and Mekhi Blackmon will compete for starting roles in the overhauled Vikings defense.

1st Vikings Rookie Agrees to Deal

1st Vikings Rookie Agrees to Deal
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

Defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy was the final defensive acquisition but the first to agree to a deal with his new club. The Vikings traded up to get him into the building, a sign that they really wanted him to join the organization. Mike Garafolo tweeted: “Vikings DT Jaquelin Roy, one of the team’s two fifth-round picks, has agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $4,179,772, per his agent. Soon to be officially under contract as a Viking.”

Roy is a defensive lineman, a position where the team needed some help. Dalvin Tomlinson, the Vikings’ top lineman, left the organization and signed with the Cleveland Browns. He has not been adequately replaced. Maybe Roy can carve out a role and help fill that void. Lance Zierlein’s NFL comparison for Roy in the pre-draft process was Tomlinson. His scouting report:

The more you watch, the more you like the way Roy plays the game. He’s a little tight in his lower body, which prevents consistent gap leverage as a run defender, but he has outstanding upper body power and plays with unbridled energy. Roy has one-gapping snap quickness and two-gapping potential if he can become more consistent with taking on blocks. Despite limited starting experience at LSU, he already displays signs of a rush plan and the athletic talent to execute it. Roy is an ascending talent with the potential to become a quality starter.

Of course, Roy will not immediately come in and fully replace the veteran, one of the best in the business at the defensive tackle spot. However, he is good against both the run and the pass and is a strong player with some quickness. All of that sounds a lot like Tomlinson.

Signing the rookie deal is a formality. The total numbers are already negotiated. Only the guarantees and some wording in the contracts can be changed. Sometimes the contracts are signed in training camp, but Roy can fully focus on preparing for his rookie campaign.

Vikings Appear to Signal
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Roy enters a defensive line room that lacked some talent after the departure of Tomlinson. Harrison Phillips, last year’s free agent signing, will return as a starter. He can play both the defensive tackle and the nose tackle position like Roy. Flexibility is essential, and Flores certainly likes that.

Dean Lowry was the only other addition, and he joined the Vikings after four years with the Green Bay Packers. He is a fine player with some experience but won’t be a game-breaking difference-maker for the Vikes.

Veteran Jonathan Bullard returns for a second season. He started seven games last year and played 319 snaps. His cheap contract confirmed that he doesn’t have a roster spot wrapped up by any means. The same can be said about James Lynch. Entering his fourth season, the final of his rookie deal, the former college star for Baylor has never been more than a backup but now has another chance to win a starting job.

Vikings Keep Free Agent Defender in the Building
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Khyiris Tonga is an interesting player. He came out of nowhere last year, the Bears cut him, and he played wonderfully. PFF graded him as a top-15 defensive lineman, which ranked him between Dalvin Tomlinson and Javon Hargrave. Both signed huge deals seven weeks ago. Of course, both have a much larger sample size. Tonga now has to show if it was a fluke because of the small sample size or if he is the real deal.

Ross Blacklock was a trade acquisition after the team surprisingly cut Armon Watts. He has not been very good for the purple team. The lineman only appeared on 139 snaps and recorded just two tackles and one sack. He took a pay cut but will not make the team without any improvements.

Considering the competition, or lack thereof, Roy could very well win a starting job at some point in his rookie season. He might be a big part of the defensive turnaround.

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