Vikings Should Pursue This New Free Agent Immediately

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL free agency begins Monday with “legal tampering,” and players can formally chat with new teams while locking in official deal terms on Wednesday.

Vikings Free Agency: Pursue This Man Now

After deciding on Kirk Cousins’ fate, the Vikings are expected to enhance their defensive personnel, likely onboarding a few new starters. And when they get down to brass tacks on Monday, the club should explore the free agency of defensive tackle Arik Armstead and sign him to a deal.

Vikings Free Agency
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Bleacher Report‘s Jordan Schultz tweeted Sunday night, “Sources to Bleacher Report: 49ers star DL Arik Armstead has decided to become a free agent and will be released. Armstead comes off a 6 tackle, 1-sack performance in the Super Bowl, and ranks 4th in playoff sacks among all active players. His 8 playoff sacks rank second all-time in franchise history.”

And that means one of the Vikings’ top needs — the defensive tackle spot that has been ignored for years — could, in theory, be filled with Armstead.

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Other DTs like Chris Jones and Christian Wilkins, for example, were scheduled to hit free agency this offseason, but each will break the bank — and Jones did already over the weekend. Wilkins will probably fetch a deal around $28 million, an expensive price for a man not yet voted an All-Pro or Pro Bowler.

However, Armstead won’t quite cost that much and has ties to Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The 30-year-old entered the NFL in 2015, and 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.

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For years, Minnesota has used DTs next to nose tackles like Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts, and Jonathan Bullard. Onboarding Armstead would “get the Vikings with the times,” ending the skimp modus operandi. Armstead is a mammoth man, standing 6’7″ and about 290 pounds. He forces quarterback pressures with the best of them and could be an anchor in Brian Flores’ defense.

Here’s Armstead’s Pro Football Focus resume to date:

  • 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

His only real drawback as of late is missing 13 games in the last two seasons. If the Vikings don’t pursue Armstead, they could also explore the bargain bin DTs for a player like Maurice Hurst of the Cleveland Browns.

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So far this offseason, Minnesota has re-signed safety Theo Jackson and tight ends Nick Muse and Johnny Mundt.

Armstead will turn 31 in November.


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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