Vikings sign Sheldon Richardson to bolster already great defensive line

Sports

The Minnesota Vikings bring back a familiar face in Sheldon Richardson to add to an already impressive defensive front. 

Entering the offseason, one of the biggest things the Minnesota Vikings needed to address was their defense. It was inconsistent in 2020, and that doesn’t sit well with a defensive-minded coach in Mike Zimmer. So they’ve prioritized their defensive line, adding beefy lineman on the interior.

It looks like an old face is returning to the Vikings to add depth to the defensive front.

Sheldon Richardson has agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The deal could rise to $4.5 because of incentives within the contract. The Pro-Bowl lineman played a season in Minnesota in 2018, where he accumulated 49 total tackles and 4.5 sacks.

Sheldon Richardson adds to the Vikings strength on the defensive line

The eight-year lineman will be brought on as depth for Zimmer’s front. The Vikings already signed Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason, and Michael Pierce is projected to start after opting out of the 2020 season. In fact, it was the move by another lineman that allowed Richardson to sign with the team.

Danielle Hunter reworked his contract with the team shortly before they signed Richardson. Now the Pro-Bowl edge rusher gets more money sooner in the new contract. The cap space they save from restricting Hunter’s deal gave them the wiggle room to grab their guy. Minnesota hopes their 26-year-old edge rusher is ready to go after missing last year due to injury.

With Richardson signed and Hunter happy with his contract, the Vikings have to feel great about their new-look defense. Their pass rush was abysmal in 2020, only sacking the quarterback 23 times. That was the fifth-worst in the NFL, according to Covers.com. However, with more talent up front and Hunter healed, Zimmer should have his defense back towards the top of the league.

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