Defensive Line

The Vikings Defensive Line was the one bright spot on the Defense, and one of few bright spots on the team. Jared Allen had 22 sacks, as those of you not living under a rock know, just a half sack shy of the NFL record. But when you go 3-13, things still need to be looked over. Jared Allen was masterful, playing well against the run too, and Brian Robison showed that the Vikings don’t need Ray Edwards anymore. Everson Griffen is a guy who played well in the situations he did play, with his physical stature and gifts he could play LB or DT in passing situations. He is also a solid special teams player. During 2011 he played MLB in the 3-3-5 package, but I felt like he should have even seen some more time in the Dime as a DT to rush the passer, early in Robison’s career he did that on occasion, so why not Griffen? But it was the run defense that was painful to watch without old Fat Pat Williams, one of my favorite players to ever play DT. Kevin Williams wasn’t his old self until late in the season (perhaps having finally recovered from Plantar Fasciitis, an overuse injury, resting a bit more than normal this offseason may be beneficial for Williams). The worst part was that Remi Ayodele was no Pat, and Guion and Evans were no Ayodele.  Ballard looked young at times, but still shows he has some great physical gifts to offer this team. Those 4 create struggles up front. Ayodele is a fine player, but not the force that Pat was, Guion is one of my favorite underdogs and I’ve rooted for him for sometime, but if we have to rely on him on a regular basis, we may be in trouble. The Fred Evans experiment needs to be done. He’s not in his prime physically, and even when he was he wasn’t good enough to be a starter. If we’re going to have backups who aren’t very good, at least make them young guys who we can build a future on.

The guys that the Vikings have under contract look good. They just need that solid NT to stop the run.  Looking at the draft, it’s tough to expect a rookie to be that guy, but maybe finding another person to groom wouldn’t be too bad of an option. The Free Agent group also doesn’t tickle my fancy, but there is one guy who excites me in this group to be the next Pat Williams. That’s Paul Soliai from the Miami Dolphins. He physically meets the Pat requirement (Williams: 6’3″ 317 lbs, which we all know wasn’t true, Soliai is 6’4″ 355 lbs) and he is a big strong guy up front who can take on two blocks leaving Kevin Williams free to work one-on-one once again. So once again, our D-line was the strongest part of our team so don’t expect many, if any changes to this group.

Under Contract: Jared Allen (DE), Everson Griffen (DE), Brian Robison (DE), Remi Ayodele (DT), Christian Ballard (DT), Kevin Williams (DT)

Practice Squad Options: D’Aundre Reed (DE)

Vikings Free Agents: Fred Evans (DT), Letroy Guion (DT)

Possible NFL Free Agents: 

Top Tier: ENDS- Robert Mathis (IND) Calais Campbell (ARZ), John Abraham (ATL), Cliff Avril (DET), Mario Williams (HOU) TACKLES- Antonio Garay (SD), Jason Jones (TEN), Aubrayo Franklin (NO), Sione Pouha (NYJ)

Other Ends: Vonnie Holliday (ARZ), Kroy Biermann (ATL), Cory Redding (BAL), Israel Idonije (CHI), Victor Adeyanju (CIN), Frostee Rucker (CIN), Marcus Benard (CLE), Derrick Harvey (DEN), Jason Hunter (DEN), Jamaal Anderson (IND), Tyler Brayton (IND), Jeremy Mincey (JAC), Matt Roth (JAC), Wallace Gilberry (KC), Kendall Langford (MIA), Phillip Merling (MIA), Igor Olshansky (MIA), Andre Carter (NE), Shaun Ellis (NE), Dave Tollefson (NYG), Jarvis Moss (OAK), Trevor Scott (OAK), Victor Abiamiri (PHI), Juqua Parker (PHI), Chris Hoke (PIT), Aaron Smith (PIT), Raheem Brock (SEA), Dave Ball (TEN), William Hayes (TEN), Adam Carriker (WAS), Kedric Golston (WAS)

Other Tackles: Amobi Okoye (CHI), Jonathan Fanene (CIN), Pat Sims (CIN), Brodrick Bunkley (DEN), Marcus Thomas (DEN), Andre Fluellen (DET), Howard Green (GB), Eric Foster (IND), Nate Collins (JAC), Leger Douzable (JAC), C.J. Mosley (JAC), Kelly Gregg (KC), Paul Soliai (MIA), Fred Evans (MIN), Letroy Guion (MIN), Shaun Rogers (NO), Trevor Laws (PHI), Red Bryant (SEA), Gary Gibson (STL), Frank Okam (TB)

Top 10 NFL Draft Options: Quinton Coples (UNC) DE, Melvin Ingram (SC) DE, Andre Branch (CLEM) DE, Devon Still (PSU) DT, Fletcher Cox (MISS ST) DT, Jerel Worthy (MSU) DT, Mercilus Whitney (ILL) DE, Brandon Thompson (CLEM) DT, Dontari Poe (MEM) DT, Cam Johnson (UVA) DE

  • Be sure to check out our other installments of Vikings Off-season Outlook: QB/HB – WR/TE – OL – DLLBCB/S