Vikings Sign Former Rival Defender

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff fumbles the ball while being pressured by Green Bay Packers defensive end Dean Lowry (94)during the fourth quarter of their game Monday, September 20, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Lions recovered the ball. The Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 35-17. Mjs Packers21 9 Jpg Packers21

The Vikings have been active in the first week of free agency. Second-year general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed a bunch of players, some internal and some external players. The first one was a tight end, Josh Oliver, a surprising and controversial move, followed by edge rusher Marcus Davenport, a move more praised than criticized. Most fans and pundits were very happy with the addition of cornerback Byron Murphy.

Adofo-Mensah also retained many of the Vikings’ free agents, including center Garrett Bradbury, running back Alexander Mattison, QB Nick Mullens, and kicker Greg Joseph. The Vikings added another defender to the mix on Friday.

Vikings Sign Former Rival Defender

Vikings Sign Former Rival Defender
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

At the defensive tackle position, the Vikings endured their worst loss in free agency. Davlin Tomlinson, one of the best Vikings’ defenders left the team to join the Cleveland Browns and former Vikings offensive coordinator and now head coach, Kevin Stefanski. Tomlinson left a gaping hole on the defensive line. Fellow defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard is also a free agent and the Vikings had to give Brian Flores someone to work with.

On Friday, Tom Pelissero tweeted: “The Vikings have agreed to terms with former Packers DL Dean Lowry, per source. Lowry started 80 games over seven seasons in Green Bay and has 15.5 career sacks.”

Green Bay Packers defensive end Dean Lowry (94) reacts after sacking Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) in the fourth quarter during their football game on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apc Green Bay Packers Vs Browns 23528 122521wag

Lowry was a fourth-round pick in 2016 out of Northwestern. The interior defender played for the Packers in his first seven seasons and appeared in 111 games, including 80 starts. His stats are underwhelming with only 15.5 sacks, his season high was 5 in 2021, 252 tackles but never more than 47 in one campaign, and 23 tackles for loss, the most in a season were 5.

However, his qualities don’t always appear on the stat sheets, as he was doing the dirty work for Kenny Clark, the Packers’ defensive tackle who gave the purple team all kinds of problems in the last few years. Lowry is eating up blocks for him and is cleaning up behind him and can help the defense in both run and pass defense.

He is a solid player who doesn’t get the praise he deserves because he rarely pulls off exciting plays, in the mold of former Viking Shamar Stephen, who was praised by Mike Zimmer but disliked by fans.

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers at Bills, per PFF
Bills quarterback Josh Allen delivers a pass as he is pressured by Vikings’ Harrison Phillips. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to Pelissero, the deal is worth $8.5 million over two seasons. More details have not been specified yet. The salary indicates that he is not the big solution up front and that there could be another signing on the defensive line.

Minnesota currently employs inside defenders Harrison Phillips, Khyiris Tonga, James Lynch, Esezi Otomewo, Ross Blacklock, T.J. Smith, and Sheldon Day.

Phillips, a 2022 free agent signing, and Lowry should be the front runners for two of the three starting spots. Tonga had the best 2022 season out of the group but in a very limited sample size. The Vikings should try to add another player via signing, trade, or in the draft.

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