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Free Agency Grades: Linval Joseph

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It's an instant information age we live in, folks, and nowhere was that more apparent than today's start of NFL's free agency. We've come a long way from the days of furiously refreshing message boards and news sites on the first day of free agency. You know, unless Twitter goes down and causes pretty much every NFL blogger everywhere to panic. (Sort of the way it did a couple of hours before free agency was set to kick off.)

With that, we have lots of different opinions on the flurry of free agent signings that took place yesterday, and the Minnesota Vikings' acquisition of Linval Joseph is no different. So, what did some of the bigger names in football media across the internet think of the signing?

Let's start with Vinnie Iyer over at The Sporting News because, hey, The Sporting News still actually exists whether you realized it or not.

How he fits: Minnesota's strenghts of the Williamses up front had faded away because of age, and drafting Sharrif Floyd last season was the first big step in getting defensive tackle solidified again. New coach Mike Zimmer should love having Joseph as a linchpin.

What we'll say in January: Joseph, just like most defensive tackles in free agency, won't carry much buzz in the big picture. But this will turn out to be one of Zimmer's best new additions. Ranked: 17 Grade: A-

That "ranked" number is where Joseph fell on The Sporting News' list of the Top 50 free agents available (which I'm not linking to because it's a massive slideshow and, well, that's just ridiculous).

Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports is a big fan of the move as well.

He was one of my top guys in this class. He is young, big, strong and powerful. He will team with Shariff Floyd to give the Vikings a nice 1-2 on the interior. Mike Zimmer has to be thrilled with this signing. Grade: A

Over at, another high mark from Doug Farrar.

Grade: A. The Vikings got a bit of a steal here. With all of their recent defensive tackles outside of Floyd in the wind, they needed a young cornerstone player who could come in immediately and excel in several ways. Now, Minnesota's front four is one of the most formidable in the league.

On their free agency live blog, the folks at Pro Football Focus seem to like the signing as well.

This marks the second big move for the Vikings this week as they re-signed DE Everson Griffen on Sunday. Coming off a strong season grading at +9.9 overall and +8.0 against the run, Joseph will likely play Minnesota's 1-technique nost tackle role. If Griffen lives up to his big contract and DT Sharrif Floyd lives up to his first-round billing, the Vikings have a lot of potential in their defensive front.

Not a "grade," per se, but a nice look at it in any case. PFF had Joseph listed as their 21st-ranked free agent available.

Personally, I like this signing a lot. As I talked about in our team needs piece, the Vikings need the proverbial "big fatty" in the middle of the defensive line, as they've been going with a lot of undersized options since Pat Williams retired. I think Joseph is "325" in much the same way that Williams was "315". . .more of a "wink wink, nudge nudge" kind of thing. He has improved each season he's been in the league, and hopefully under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer and company he'll continue trending in that direction. The Vikings still need to improve their depth along the front line, but a starting front four of Everson Griffen, Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, and Brian Robison is a pretty damn good start.

What do you think of the Joseph signing?