The Vikings continue to make big moves in free agency.
Days after landing free agent prize Kirk Cousins, the Minnesota signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The deal is for one year and worth $8 million. The deal also includes $3 million worth of incentives, allowing Richardson to earn up to $11 million next season.
How we got here
In his first two seasons with the New York Jets, Richardson was a dominant defensive tackle. In 2013, he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and followed up with a Pro Bowl season in 2014.
Since then, however, Richardson has been suspended twice for off-the-field issues and has seen a steep decline in his production. In 2016, the former first-round pick only tallied 1.5 sacks on a struggling Jets team.
At the beginning of last season, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round draft pick. Richardson performed well in 2017, but Seattle was not comfortable with signing him to a long-term contract.
What the Vikings are getting
In Minnesota, Richardson will play next to Pro Bowl nose tackle Linval Joseph. This dynamic duo, along with ends Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, will form one of the most intimidating defensive lines in football. The Vikings were in the defensive tackle market after the departures of veterans Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen.
Although he may not have the game-changing ability he once did, Richardson is still an immensely talented player. In 2017, he showed improvement in transitioning to Seattle’s 4-3 defense and displayed excellent pass rushing abilities. Entering the offseason, Richardson was by far the best defensive tackle on the market.
After making big-time additions at quarterback and defensive tackle, the Vikings’ main need will be improving their offensive line.
Featured image from turnonthejets.com
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