A few minutes ago the fever dream that the Vikings could somehow manage to keep DT Sheldon RIchardson was broken with this tweet from Adam Schefter:
Former Vikings’ DT Sheldon Richardson intends to sign a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns when free agency opens Wednesday, a source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2019
Cleveland’s opening-day front four now expected to be DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, Richardson and DE Emmanuel Ogbah.
With the news that the Vikes had signed Shamar Stephen came out last night, the writing was on the wall for this move, so I’m not really surprised, but I am disappointed. I had sort of thought that Richardson was going to wait a couple of days to let the Vikings make some more room under the cap so they could re-sign him, but hey, money talks, and he’s going to get a lot of it in Cleveland.
So in the span of 12 hours, the VIkings have lost two key parts of the Zimmer defense with Anthony Barr and now Richardson. I fully expected one of them to leave, but not both. That now leaves the Vikings with a couple of big holes in the defense, and it could affect their draft strategy. Offensive line was the primary need, but add linebacker and a good 3-technique lineman into that mix as well, and you could argue those needs are almost as big as o-line now.
Free agency is still young, and there is plenty of good talent to be had, but with each passing hour the Vikings now have more questions than answers, more holes to fill, and they’re still very tight up against the salary cap.
But with that said, there should be news on the contract front with Everson Griffen and maybe a couple other players, which could free up some salary cap, which can allow the Vikings to jump into the free agency pool. Stay tuned.