Not So Fast on Dalvin Tomlinson

3 Former Vikings Making Impact on New Teams in 2023
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

February 20th was the deadline for Dalvin Tomlinson’s dead cap penalty to cement against the Minnesota Vikings books in 2023 if no action was taken. And nothing happened. Tomlinson was not extended by the due date.

Luke Braun from the Locked on Vikings podcast tweeted Monday, “Per Over The Cap, Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson’s contract voids today. Would mean a $7.5M dead cap penalty applies to the Vikings’ books (this has been factored into most of the projections you see). If the Vikings can work out a deal, they can keep it spread out.”

Not So Fast on Dalvin Tomlinson

And the working theory went like this — if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t extend Tomlinson by the deadline, it probably signaled his departure from the Vikings.

Not So Fast on Dalvin
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Well, not so fast.

A Tomlinson reunion in 2023 is still very much on the table, as ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted Wednesday, “Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson’s deal was set to void in recent days, which would have pushed $7.5M of dead money onto their 2023 cap. The team & Tomlinson agreed to move the void date to 3/15. This buys more time for a possible extension that avoids all $7.5M hitting the 2023 cap.”

There’s a pulse, and mentions of Tomlinson exiting Minnesota are postponed. In fact, the extension of the void date seems to hint Tomlinson is likely to return. Because — why extend the void date if the Vikings weren’t interested in a reunion?

The New Theory for Dalvin
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) pressures Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) causing a fumble during their football game on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. © Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

A new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, took over the Vikings defense a couple of weeks ago, and some of the team’s fans have speculated Tomlinson “isn’t a fit” in Flores’ system. But the defensive tackle is an adept run-stuffer and pass-rusher, so claiming the man won’t work with Flores’ scheme is a little odd. His impressive 77.1 Pro Football Focus score from 2022 should fit anywhere.

Plus, if Adofo-Mensah requested a delay to the void-money deadline, that implies Tomlinson would indeed fit in the Vikings 2023 defense.

Vikings Appear to Signal
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN published an article Tuesday detailing the best team fits for the NFL’s Top 50 free agents, and for Tomlinson, it was the Atlanta Falcons. ESPN’s Matt Bowen elaborated on the fit, “The Falcons could boost their defensive line with Tomlinson, a 325-pound nose guard who can play as a 1-technique in a 40 front. With 13 sacks over six pro seasons, Tomlinson isn’t going to bring high-end pass-rush production to Atlanta.”

“But thanks to lateral quickness and that size, Tomlinson can clog up running lanes, demand double-teams and provide an interior push next to Grady Jarrett to take away opposing quarterback’s throwing platforms,” Bowen added.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

So, the man would evidently be coveted on the open market if he slipped out the door in Minnesota.

Tomlinson was arguably the Vikings most consistent defender in 2022. He missed four games to injury, but aside from that, he simply doesn’t have bad games. He’s not an elite Aaron Donaldish defensive tackle but is a steady eddy who clogs the middle of the trenches.

And now Adofo-Mensah has an extra three weeks to “figure it out” with Tomlinson.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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