Vikings Didn’t Let Their Man Leave the Building

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Two Jonah Williamses play in the NFL, and the Minnesota Vikings obtained the defensive version on Monday.

Vikings Didn’t Let Their Man Leave the Building

Indeed, Minnesota signed a new defensive tackle on Monday, the eighth day of free agency. He’s Jonah Williams, a member of the 2021 Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams team that featured Kevin O’Connell as offensive coordinator.

Vikings
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Star Tribune‘s Ben Goessling tweeted, “The Vikings are signing Jonah Williams, who’d been in town on a free agent visit today.”

Minnesota needed reinforcements at defensive tackle because, as recently as last week, the club had just three on the roster: Harrison Phillips, Jonathan Bullard, and Jaquelin Roy. But after the Williams addition and the onboarding of Jerry Tillery late last week, the DT portion of the depth chart is taking shape, at least per the sheer number of bodies.

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Here’s the lay of the land at DT for Minnesota as of March 18th:

  • Harrison Phillips
  • Jerry Tillery
  • Jonah Williams
  • Jonathan Bullard
  • Jaquelin Roy

Before the Vikings made it official with Williams, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweeted, “Visiting Vikings today, free agent defensive lineman Jonah Williams scheduled to visit Cardinals on Tuesday, per a league source. Fluid situation with interest from multiple NFL teams.”

So, Minnesota didn’t let their man leave the building, and Williams will now vie for a roster spot this summer and perhaps even a starter’s job next to Harrison Phillips on the 2024 defensive line.

The Vikings didn’t partake in the sweepstakes of any expensive, big-name defensive tackles during free agency’s first week. Chris Jones, Christian Wilkins, and Leonard Williams, for example, headlined the DT market, but Minnesota apparently didn’t have the funds to make a splash.

Judgment Day
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Williams, 28, joined the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2020, serving on the practice squad until 2021. Williams steadily accumulated playing time in the last three seasons, culminating in 17 games and 16 starts last year. He banked 40 tackles and 2 sacks.

Here’s his Pro Football Focus resume to date:

2023 = 55.6
2022 = 53.6
2021 = 64.9

The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder is better at stopping the run than getting after the quarterback, whereas the man signed last week, Tillery, is the opposite. If the Vikings sign no free-agent DTs thereafter while not selecting an impact defensive tackle in April’s draft, perhaps Tillery and Williams would split defensive snaps in 2024 at the spot next to Harrison Phillips. Stay tuned.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

Williams attended Weber State University and won a Super Bowl with the 2021 Rams, along with the aforementioned O’Connell. If the Vikings plan to, alas, make a splashier DT move in addition to Williams, well, the franchise is down to Calais Campbell as the last resort. It’s unclear, however, if Campbell, at age 37, would want to join a new team likely featuring a rookie quarterback in September (or Sam Darnold). Probably not.

Williams played 598 defensive snaps, or 53% of the time, for last year’s Los Angeles squad.

He’ll turn 29 this summer. His deal is for one year and $1.5 million.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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

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