Vikings Can Now Fix DL with Stroke of a Pen

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The Minnesota Vikings are a reputable defensive tackle away from showcasing a sweet defensive line in 2024. That’s all it will take.

Vikings Can Now Fix DL with Stroke of a Pen

Whether the club splashes for a big-name defensive tackle remains to be seen. But if it does, Arik Armstead should be at the top of the list.

Vikings Free Agency
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers were reportedly set to release Armstead on free agency eve, and if that reporting comes to fruition on Wednesday — it probably will — Minnesota should pounce. It would allow the franchise to field this defensive line in September:

  • OLB: Jonathan Greenard
  • DT: Harrison Phillips
  • DT: Arik Armstead
  • OLB: Andrew Van Ginkel

The Vikings sometimes call their DTs “defensive ends” in Brian Flores’ hybrid 3-4 system, so know that for bookkeeping’s sake.

Domino Quietly
Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

Minnesota allowed Danielle Hunter to hit free agency this offseason, and he promptly signed with his hometown Houston Texans on Tuesday. In his stead, Greenard and Van Ginkel will take over the edges of the line, while the Vikings could stand to finally sign a high-profile DT — like Armstead.

The 30-year-old entered the NFL in 2015, and current Vikings bossman Adofo-Mensah was inside the San Francisco 49ers organization at the time. The two were coworkers for four years. They should know each other well. Moreover, he won’t cost “Chris Jones money” or anywhere close to it, making his candidacy for Vikings’ free agency somewhat attainable.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

For too long, Minnesota has used DTs in the middle of its line like Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts, and Jonathan Bullard. Signing Armstead would bring the Vikings up to speed and end the underwhelming past solutions. Armstead is a large man, standing 6’7″ and about 290 pounds. He creates quarterback pressure and can help stop the run, though his primary specialty is pass rush.

Here’s Armstead’s Pro Football Focus scorecard:

  • 2015: 79.9
  • 2016: 53.9
  • 2017: 70.1
  • 2018: 74.2
  • 2019: 89.8
  • 2020: 76.0
  • 2021: 77.9
  • 2022: 63.3
  • 2023: 81.9

The only real negative is Armstead missing 13 games in the last two seasons. If the Vikings don’t pursue him, they could also explore others like D.J. Reader, Calais Campbell, or Sheldon Rankins.

Fans Already Split
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The overall takeaway? Minnesota has two DTs on the current roster. They’ll need several more by the beginning of May. Making Armstead the keynote addition would generate palpable excitement.

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