During NFL free agency at around this time last year, the Minnesota Vikings lost a pair of defensive tackles to the Seattle Seahawks, as both Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen signed with the team that we affectionately call “Vikings West.”
Johnson returned to Minnesota early last season after the Seahawks cut him loose, and now the team is bringing Stephen back as well.
Numerous sources are reporting that Stephen has agreed to a three-year deal with the Vikings, and will formally sign when free agency gets underway on Wednesday afternoon.
Stephen was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings out of Connecticut in the 2014 NFL Draft, and managed to stick with the team for four seasons. He appeared in 37 games for the Vikings in those four years, and was a starter in all 16 games in 2016. In 2017, he was mostly a rotational player, but still appeared in 15 of 16 games, starting one. Stephen has been very solid against the run throughout the course of his career, and that’s a spot where the Vikings could use some help.
Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
It remains to be seen whether or not this is a bit of foreshadowing as to whether or not the Vikings think they can keep Sheldon Richardson, who they signed last offseason after he played a season in Seattle. I haven’t seen any buzz on social media or anything about Richardson to this point, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
So, the Vikings have made a move in free agency. It’s not a particularly big or sexy move, but it’s a move.