Vikings Cut Defender after Only 361 Days

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is continuing with his vision to transform Minnesota’s roster his way. Veterans depart, most significantly quarterback Kirk Cousins and star defender Danielle Hunter, after six and nine seasons. In exchange, he has started to add players in his third free agency period, signing Andrew Van Ginkel, Jonathan Greenard, and Blake Cashman will help coordinator Brian Flores form his defense.

Vikings Cut Defender after Only 361 Days

Vikings Cut Defender After Only 361 Days
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One player who was part of that defense last season but will not wear purple in the upcoming season is Dean Lowry, a free-agent addition from a year ago. The Vikings signed him to a two-year $8.5 million contract. The team announced on Tuesday that the franchise and player had parted ways after just one season.

Lowry was part of a defensive line with remarkably bad sack and pressure rate numbers last season. Harrison Phillips has been the top defensive tackle on the roster and is a wonderful run-stopper, but the guys playing next to him were underwhelming.

Neither Lowry, veteran Jonathan Bullard, rookie Jacqulin Roy, nor Khyiris Tonga could consistently produce any splashy plays. That’s why the defensive line needs an overhaul, and releasing Lowry was the first step.

Future in Minnesota Should
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The former Green Bay Packers draft pick played nine games (four starts) with the Vikings. He didn’t log a single sack and only collected 14 tackles, none of those for a loss, despite playing 237 snaps on the defensive line. A torn pectoral muscle ended his season and, ultimately, his tenure with the Vikings.

By releasing the 29-year-old, the Vikings save roughly $2 million in cap space. They can now use that money as a down payment for a successor. Finding a good defensive tackle is paramount to revamp the defensive personnel, as the Vikings clearly lack talent in that area of the defense. After the signings of Greenard and Van Ginkel, it is undoubtedly the weakest position group the purple team has on the roster on either side of the ball.

Kirk Cousins
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A top candidate for the vacant spot could be Arik Armstead who was released by the 49ers after declining a significant pay cut. The 30-year-old had five sacks last season and has always been a solid interior pass-rusher. His 58 pressures in 15 games in 2023 would’ve comfortably ranked him second behind Hunter in Minnesota’s defense, miles ahead of every interior player.

Another candidate is D.J. Reader, who spent the last four seasons in Cincinnati. He is not a pure pass-rusher; in fact, he isn’t more than an average pass-rusher on the surface, but the attention he commands because of his power helps teammates find gaps to pursue the passer. In addition to that, he is also a force in the running game and would be a crucial piece in a hopefully improved defense.

in Particular Rookie
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The Vikings could also use the draft to acquire a new defensive tackle. Byron Murphy from Texas and Johnny Newton from Illinois have often been linked to Minnesota because of the franchises’s weakness in that area.

Lowry will likely find a new team as a solid depth player in the upcoming weeks, but the Vikings need a difference-maker and Lowry has never been that.

His departure leaves Minnesota with only two defensive tackles on the roster (Phillips and Roy), so it is forced to add more.

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