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Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Linval Joseph

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Looking at upcoming roster positions on key personnel

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

DN you got to let me know...should I stay or should I go?

—The Clash (almost)

Happy Thorsday kids, as we like to say around these parts. As we told you earlier, the dominoes have already started to fall, with the news of Everson Griffen voiding his contract on his way to becoming a free agent. Whether or not Griff returns to the Vikings on a re-structured deal remains to be seen, but Griffen isn’t the only Vikings defensive lineman with an uncertain future.

Today we’ll look at DT Linval Joseph, but if you’ve missed any of our other SISOSIG posts and would like to read those, look no further:

Read about Everson Griffen here.

Read about Xavier Rhodes here.

Read about Trae Waynes here.

2020 Salary Cap number (and dead money): $12.8 million ($2.4 million)

Should I Stay?

Joseph has been one of the best free agent signings the Vikings have ever made. He’s been a phenomenal nose tackle for the Vikings defense, and recorded PFF rankings above 90 overall in 2015 and 2017. He’s struggled with a nagging knee injury the last couple of seasons, though, and that’s limited his game action and effectiveness. His overall PFF rating slipped to 73.7 in 2018, and 69.5 this past season, his lowest since he became a starter back with the New York Giants back in 20111.

He missed three games last year, and when he was out, it was noticeable. A healthy Joseph takes up a lot of real estate and offensive linemen, and allows guys like Griffen and Danielle Hunter a better opportunity to go 1 on 1 and pressure the quarterback. Even though Joseph struggled and had the fewest snaps in a season since 2015, he still recorded three sacks, and when healthy made life generally miserable for opposing offensive linemen. If he isn’t with the Vikings in 2020, his presence on the line will definitely be missed.

Should I Go?

He’s 31, and although he’s still the best option the Vikings have, his play has declined, and I just don’t see him back at his 2020 salary. An outright release gives Minnesota a cap savings of about $10.5 million, money the Vikings desperately need. However, if you release Joseph, do you think that Jaleel Johnson, Armon Watts, or a potential replacement in free agency or the draft could adequately replace him?

Both Johnson and Watts had some moments where they played good football, but can that sustain as a starter, or at least with a heavier rotation? Even though Joseph was out three games, he still had more defensive snaps (644) than Watts (121) and Johnson (433) combined. That’s because when healthy, Joseph was still really good, and I just don’t see any of the options past him being as talented as he is, as long as he is at or close to 100%. Griffen was able to void his contract after meeting performance escalators, an option Joseph doesn’t have. I expect the Vikings to approach him about a re-structure, but there’s no guarantee anything will get done.

Poll

Should Linval Joseph stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Stay
    (202 votes)
  • 68%
    Stay with a re-structured deal
    (2037 votes)
  • 24%
    Go
    (714 votes)
2953 votes total Vote Now