Even after signing Everson Griffen to a new five-year deal, the Minnesota Vikings didn’t appear set on their defensive line. Minnesota continued their rebuild of the defense by signing defensive tackle Linval Joseph to a five-year, $31.5 million contract according to various reports. Joseph is only 25 years old and played for the New York Giants the last four years where he has been known as a run stopper. He has nine career sacks and has been involved in 59 tackles in each of the last two seasons.
While the Vikings were solid against the run in 2013 being 16th in the NFL, the signing of Joseph does give the team a way to improve on their run defense and could remind some fans of the days of Pat Williams in the middle. This is likely not going to be the final move but the team appears to be using free agency to fix the defense more than the draft. Griffen and Joseph are going to be the basis of the Vikings’ defense for a long time to come.
The Vikings did go 5-10-1 last season but could be improving enough where their record should be better next season if things continue to improve. There is still money under the salary cap for the Vikings to use. The defensive line though looks to be set now with Griffen, Joseph, Brian Robison and last year’s first round pick Sharrif Floyd. There is a lot of money tied up with those four players. If they produce the way they should, Minnesota has the potential to be a team that could get near the .500 mark in 2014. If they don’t however, a record closer to 4-12 is more possible. That’s how important these moves on the defensive line are.
New head coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive coach and he appears to be getting his team into shape for the 2014 season. The next step needs to be in the defensive backfield now. That could be in the draft in May however where the team should have a great chance to get a solid cornerback with the No. 8 overall pick. What will Zimmer and the Vikings do next?