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ESPN finds a free agent fit for the Vikings

Yes, the Vikings get to do free agency, too

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

We are a little more than a month away from the start of the new league year in the National Football League, and that will be marked by the start of free agency. While free agency for the Minnesota Vikings over the past couple of years has been a bit of a dud, there is no league rule that prevents them from actually participating in the signing frenzy.

Behind the great E$PN paywall, Jeremy Fowler has ranked the top 50 available free agents and found homes for them with teams across the NFL. He only has one of those players heading to Minnesota, as he has tabbed Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end Carl Lawson to come join Mike Zimmer’s defense.

The Vikings must address a pass rush that struggled as Danielle Hunter missed all of last season. It’s uncharacteristic to see Minnesota rank 28th in team sacks. Lawson fits Mike Zimmer’s style as a heavy-handed 263-pounder who can win with physicality and power. Plus he’s from the Bengals defensive tree Zimmer knows well.

Lawson was a fourth-round pick of the Bengals out of Auburn in the 2017 NFL Draft. He led all NFL rookies in sacks that season with 8.5, but missed half of his sophomore season with a torn ACL. Over the past two seasons, he’s collected 10.5 sacks for the Bengals.

In his rookie season, Lawson played for Paul Guenther, who was then the Bengals’ defensive coordinator and was just recently signed by the Vikings to be a senior defensive assistant. Fowler’s article was written before Guenther came to the Twin Cities, but now there’s a real connection between the team and the player to be noted.

As we know, the Vikings’ pass rush was absolutely miserable last season with Danielle Hunter out with an injury and Everson Griffen departing Minnesota in free agency. Lawson is the sort of second-contract player that the Vikings might be able to do some real development with. As long as Andre Patterson is in Minnesota to coach the defensive linemen, I firmly believe that any defensive lineman that has potential is going to realize it with the Vikings.

I don’t know what kind of contract Lawson is going to demand in free agency, but the Vikings should be looking at every possible avenue to try to bolster their pass rush and give some aid to their young secondary players.

What do you think of Carl Lawson to Minnesota, folks?