On a few occasions this offseason, we’ve seen the name of the newly-acquired Harrison Phillips pop up among the most underrated players in the league. . .this before he’s even played a game for the Minnesota Vikings. Now, the guy that Phillips will (presumably) be lining up next to is getting hit with that label as well.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com has compiled her list of the 10 most underrated players in the NFL, and nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson checks in at #9 on that list.
Interior D-line love coming up! In his five NFL seasons, Tomlinson has never had a PFF defensive grade below 74.9, which is above average. Computer vision shows that Tomlinson pushed a center or guard into the quarterback’s pressure halo (the 6-foot circle around the QB) at a career-high rate last season and at the third-highest rate among interior defenders. Stopping the run is his forte, but adding some extra push on passing downs figures to keep adding to his value.
Tomlinson didn’t have much of a reputation as a pass rusher when the Vikings signed him last offseason, but according to those numbers provided by Frelund he’s actually gotten to be pretty good at it. He played well last season as a three-technique tackle, which is probably playing him out of position. This year, he’ll be back on the nose and we’ll see if he can continue providing the same sort of push in the passing game that he has been.
With the combination of Phillips and Tomlinson up front and the duo of Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks behind them in the Vikings’ new-look defense, things can’t help but be better than they were in 2021, right? I think I’m right. If Tomlinson can continue providing a solid presence in the middle, it’s possible that he won’t be “underrated” for too much longer.