Going into the 2018 league year, the Minnesota Vikings had three main areas of concern that they needed to address:
- Get some clarification on the muddle quarterback situation.
- Add some depth to the defensive line.
- Add some depth to the offensive line.
You can put a big ol’ check mark next to Action Item 1. Case Keenum is in Denver, Teddy Bridgewater is off to New York, and Sam Bradford is headed to the desert. In their place are Trevor Siemian and the newly minted $84 million man, Kirk Cousins.
And now it appears that Action Item 2 is being addressed. The Thursday night dinner between Sheldon Richardson and the Vikings brass appears to have done the trick:
Former Seahawks’ and Jets’ DT Sheldon Richardson reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2018
The contract details weren’t immediately available; we’ll update this story when it happens.
UPDATE 3:22 PM: According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo, the one-year deal is for $11 million.
Sheldon Richardson’s one-year deal with the #Vikings is worth about $11 million, per source.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 16, 2018
While the contract
probably won’t doesn’t make him the richest interior defensive lineman, Richardson certainly won’t didn’t come cheap either. After handing out the mega-deal to Cousins and bringing in Richardson, Latavius Murray probably won’t be the last player asked to restructure his deal. In fact, it wouldn’t be very surprising to see one or two Vikings veterans released outright in the coming days to give the team a bit more cap flexibility. But for now, let’s focus on what the Vikings are getting in Richardson.
Some detractors have pointed to the lack of raw numbers over the past couple of seasons; Richardson had only 2.5 total sacks in 2016 and 2017 with the Jets and Seahawks, respectively. But he is still an effective every-down defensive tackle that should be a great compliment to Linval Joseph in the middle. Despite the low sack numbers, Richardson has still consistently been among the league’s best interior pass rushers when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
Richardson is still only 27 years old. He is only 18 months older than Sharrif Floyd, who it appears will be forced to end his career after complications from a routine knee surgery. Assuming the Floyd will come to an injury settlement, the Vikings are using some of the Floyd money they had earmarked for Richardson, the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
While the Eagles and Jaguars might still boast the best defensive lines in the NFL, the Vikings have definitely cemented themselves in the conversation of the top defensive trenches in the league. The thought of Richardson and Joseph attacking in the middle with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen coming off the edge should give opposing coordinators and quarterbacks nightmares in 2018.
Welcome to Minnesota, Sheldon!