Ex-Vikings Defender Joins Steelers

Team Could Land Kirk
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Free agency is about two and a half weeks old, and most eyes have turned to the 2024 NFL Draft, at least per fan interest.

Ex-Vikings Defender Joins Steelers

But players are still signing here and there, and one former Minnesota Vikings defender found a new home on Monday.

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Dean Lowry will join the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024 or at least vie for a 53-man roster spot this summer. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor tweeted, “Steelers have also agreed to terms with QB Kyle Allen and DE Dean Lowry, GM Omar Khan says.”

Minnesota cut ties with Lowry on free agency’s second day, March 12th, so it took the former Viking and Green Bay Packer about two weeks to find a landing spot. Lowry will back up Cameron Heyward on Pittsburgh’s current depth chart at defensive tackle.

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Lowry lasted nine games in Minnesota after seven seasons in Green Bay and will make Pittsburgh his career’s third chapter. He started four games for the 2023 Vikings, appearing in the aforementioned nine games altogether. He logged 14 tackles and an underwhelming 47.7 Pro Football Focus grade. Jonathan Bullard ended up grabbing the lion’s share of snaps at Lowry’s spot after he succumbed to injury, signaling the end to Lowry’s brief stint in purple.

For his replacement in Minnesota, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah re-upped with Bullard while signing newcomers DTs Jerry Tillery from the Las Vegas Raiders and Jonah Williams of the Los Angeles Rams.

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Minnesota’s interior pass rush struggled tremendously in 2023, tabulating some of the lowest quarterback pressure production in the NFL. In that vein, it was no surprise that Lowry was released this offseason, as many fans hoped the Vikings would explore an alternative like Arik Armstead or Grover Stewart, for example, from free agency or use a high-round draft pick on a defensive tackle. For years, the Vikings have skimped at the defensive tackle position, usually signing a player like Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts, or Bullard and calling it good.

Outside of signing Calais Campbell from the NFL’s marketplace — he’s the last high-profile DT left — or using the draft, Minnesota appears content with Bullard, Tillery, and Williams at Lowry’s spot in 2024 next to Harrison Phillips. Most believe the Vikings will spend 1st-Round draft capital on a quarterback in four weeks, all but disqualifying an impact defensive tackle that high in the event.

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The Steelers’ defense ranked sixth per DVOA last season, so Lowry will join a sturdy group led by head coach Mike Tomlin, who, of course, began his NFL career in Minnesota. Pittsburgh also employs former Vikings Kalon Barnes (CB) and Nate Meadors (S).

Lowry will turn 30 this summer.

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.