Vikings Have Focused on the Box

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The Minnesota Vikings have done a good deal of work thus far in free agency, and looking at their signings, it’s clear the focal point has been within the box. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants to give defensive coordinator Brian Flores as much ammunition as possible.

Vikings Have Focused on the Box

A season ago, the Vikings brought in Marcus Davenport to replace Za’Darius Smith opposite Danielle Hunter. His signing proved to be completely empty, and he provided little value both on and off the field. With both edge rushers now gone this offseason, it was understandable that position would be a focal point at some point during the offseason. Building both there and behind that group has taken on a whole new level of impact, however.

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Seven of the eight defensive free agents brought in will play close to the line of scrimmage. Shaq Griffin will be tasked with helping Byron Murphy Jr. cement the cornerback position, but everyone else is a player looking to bring down the cornerback or pursue the football within the front seven. Minnesota’s box has certainly been addressed.

Yes, losing Hunter at an edge rusher position would always hurt. No, paying him after a career year would never make sense. Instead of retaining his services, Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Jihad Ward will get free reign to create havoc for the opposition. Both represent a similar amount of talent and with no one standing in their way, each can play loose while working to establish a new identity.

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Both Jonah Williams and Jerry Tillery get to work on a defensive line that is also largely seeing an overhaul. The pair will now study under Brian Flores, and the hope is that their best production is ahead of them. Minnesota’s defense made strides last season, but allowing Flores to make an even greater impact in year two should be the goal.

Behind the first layer of defense is another handful of guys who will be tasked with immediate production. Minnesota native Blake Cashman should step into an immediate starting role, and Kamu Grugier-Hill presents a solid amount of insurance for Ivan Pace Jr. The former undrafted product should be a good bet to continue his professional excellence in year two, but he’ll also have veteran competition to push him on a daily basis.

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For the Vikings to really put a young quarterback in a position to succeed, they’ll need a competent defense. The group took a strong step forward last year, but there is still plenty of work to be done, and it’s clear the organization wasn’t okay with good enough. Supplementing that group and dispersing some of the funds freed up with Kirk Cousins’s departure has been a solid foray into free agency.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.