The One Big “But” about the Vikings Offseason

Name Vikings Who Could
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The Minnesota Vikings addressed damn near every roster need last week during free agency’s first seven days.

The One Big “But” about the Vikings Offseason

Many debated whether the purple team needed cornerbacks, but on the roster at the moment are men like Byron Murphy, Mekhi Blackmon, Akayleb Evans, and Andrew Booth. There is no quantity problem. The quality is assuredly questionable.

Vikings Offseason
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With cornerback still a work in progress, defensive tackle remains the one big but of the Vikings’ offseason so far. The club signed Jerry Tillery, a former 1st-Rounder, last week, yet he’s not a blossoming Pro Bowler — or anything of the sort. For now, he’s an underachieving former 1st-Rounder.

So, unless the Vikings have a sweet plan to sign Calais Campbell or draft a premiere defensive tackle in five weeks, the club will venture into the 2024 season with ginormous defensive tackle question marks.

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For better or worse, this is nothing new. Absolutely nothing new. Minnesota has a rich tradition amid the last decade of skimping at defensive tackle, preferring talents next to the nose tackle spot like Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts, and Jonathan Bullard, to name a few examples. In two separate seasons, the Vikings signed Sheldon Richardson — which felt like a big damn deal — but that was about all for Minnesota “getting serious” at the three-technique defensive tackle spot.

In fairness to Minnesota’s front office, this year’s free agency period featured expensive DTs like Chris Jones and Christian Wilkins. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could afford neither man. Perhaps next offseason — when the Vikings have over $100 million in cap space — the franchise can make a defensive tackle splash.

the Radar
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However, as of March 18th, the Vikings are down to Calais Campbell or bust. He’s the last impactful, big-name DT on the market, a 37-year-old veteran drafted the year after Adrian Peterson. Campbell never slows down. The rest of the men on the market are decent, average, or plainly not good. Campbell is wonderful.

Minnesota’s last best chance arrived a few days ago when Arik Armstead was available for the taking. But he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Overall, these are the Vikings’ DTs on the roster heading into Week 2 of free agency:

  • Harrison Phillips
  • Jerry Tillery
  • Jonathan Bullard
  • Jacquelin Roy

Last year at this time, Minnesota had nine defensive tackles. Perhaps more are on the way. Maybe even Campbell.

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The NFL Draft is 5.5 weeks away, and Minnesota now owns a fancy extra 1st-Round pick after a splashy trade with the Houston Texans last Friday.

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).

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