Dalvin Tomlinson has played many instruments his life. He started off playing the trumpet, moved to the snare and bass drums, eventually got to the xylophone and piano, and can even play the ukulele. Most notably for us, however, is how he plays with leverage against offensive linemen each week.
Whether it’s packing seven sharpies for every game to color in his infinity gauntlet or eating up double team blocks, the sixth year defensive tackle from the University of Alabama impresses on and off the field. Tomlinson, who graduated high school with a 4.4 GPA, three wrestling state championships, and admittance to a school called Harvard, is part of an under appreciated group of players: those who built their own gaming PCs. Seriously, he built his own! Okay, but another under appreciated group he finds himself in is interior defensive linemen.
As the game continues to push towards light boxes and two high coverage structures, defensive linemen get the short end of the stick. They are frequently asked to take on double teams in order to allow for line backers to roam free and make plays. This unselfish ask leads to incredible feats of athleticism, artistic body control, and today’s article.
Fight the double
As part of many blocking schemes you see on Sunday, the offensive line has one or more double teams. In the run game, the offensive line’s goal is to use numbers, angles, and leverage in order to create just enough space for a runner to squeeze through. The most frequent double teams come from the center and either guard double teaming a defensive linemen with the goal of working up to a linebacker. Dalvin Tomlinson seems to take personal offense to the idea of a double team.
One way to “win” against a double team is to hold up both blockers in order to keep a teammate clean. Linebackers love this as they can then go and make tackles:
Dalvin Tomlinson (94) does a great job eating the double team to keep Hicks clean pic.twitter.com/4KPupNIYWp— Shawn (@syedschemes) September 12, 2022
One is the loneliest number
When singled up, Tomlinson pops off the screen as a mismatch. Tomlinson’s play strength, understanding of leverage, and quickness to move from one gap to the other build on each other to create a solid run defender. There are a trove of clips that highlight this and here are a few of them:
I love watching Dalvin Tomlinson (94) play football pic.twitter.com/CoP3UxXfif— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 3, 2022
Dalvin Tomlinson (94) working knock back, lock peak shed pic.twitter.com/4741Iaed2C— Shawn (@syedschemes) December 12, 2022
Add it to the Dalvin Tomlinson reel pic.twitter.com/lxWEQ33j68— Shawn (@syedschemes) December 12, 2022
Of course, we also want to see pass rush production from our defensive linemen. The Vikings have been spoiled by some plays from Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter this year, but Tomlinson can also win on the interior. Though Tomlinson missed 4 games with a calf injury, his pass rush ability and nose for the ball have come up a few times.
Nice swim by Dalvin Tomlinson (94) over LG from a RUSH front (3s and 9s) pic.twitter.com/5zVRmanvxU— Shawn (@syedschemes) September 12, 2022
Dalvin Tomlinson (94) forcing the fumble on the sack pic.twitter.com/QTfy1ijpqF— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
This Saturday, as the Vikings look to bounce back against the Colts, tell all your friends about your new favorite Viking. Dalvin Tomlinson is big, athletic, wears #94, and will be a key part of stopping the run as Minnesota hopes to build momentum going into the playoffs.