Top Defensive Linemen Targeted for Vikings by Brian Flores! - footballivenews
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Top Defensive Linemen Targeted for Vikings by Brian Flores!



The Vikings are in dire need of bolstering their roster with talent, and their first avenue for doing so opens next week with the commencement of NFL free agency. Starting at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, players can begin negotiations with new teams, although official contracts cannot be signed until 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the NFL’s 2024 league year. Over the next five days, the focus will be on addressing the position groups where the Vikings have the most pressing needs.

All data on pressure and run stoppage is sourced from Pro Football Focus, while salary cap figures are provided by Over the Cap.

Interior Defensive Line:
The Vikings’ interior defensive line left much to be desired in the previous season. Harrison Phillips, the group’s leader, shouldered a heavy workload, surpassing 70% playing time, reminiscent of Kevin Williams’ tenure. Injuries sidelined Dean Lowry and James Lynch, while Jonathan Bullard, a journeyman, was heavily relied upon. The Vikings require top-tier talent, particularly in interior pass rush, and depth to align with coordinator Brian Flores’ vision for revamping the defense.

Current Roster: DT Harrison Phillips, DT Dean Lowry, DT Jaquelin Roy

Free Agents: DT Jonathan Bullard, NT Khyiris Tonga (restricted), DT James Lynch, DT Sheldon Day, DT T.J. Smith (exclusive rights)

Current Salary Cap Investment: $14.3 million, ranking 21st in the NFL

Notable Free Agents to Monitor:
– DT Christian Wilkins (Dolphins): Wilkins, drafted by Flores during his tenure with the Dolphins, achieved a career-high nine sacks last season, a feat unseen in the Vikings’ interior defense for two decades. However, acquiring Wilkins may come at a steep price, with top interior defenders commanding annual salaries exceeding $20 million.
– DT Chris Jones (Chiefs): A standout in the free-agent pool, Jones, fresh from a Super Bowl victory, is expected to demand a substantial contract. His stellar performance in the playoffs underscores his value as a top-tier defensive lineman.
– DT D.J. Reader (Bengals): Despite recovering from a quad injury, Reader’s track record as a reliable run defender and pass rusher makes him an intriguing option for teams seeking interior line reinforcement.
– DT Javon Kinlaw (49ers): Kinlaw’s talent is undeniable, but questions linger regarding his consistency at the NFL level. His improvement last season offers hope, and the Vikings’ connections in San Francisco could provide valuable insights into his potential fit.
– DT A’Shawn Robinson (Giants): With experience in the NFC North and familiarity with the Vikings coaching staff, Robinson presents an appealing option for bolstering the defensive line.
– DT Shelby Harris (Browns): Despite approaching his 33rd birthday, Harris remains a viable depth addition, showcasing pass-rushing prowess and reliability in a limited role for Cleveland last season.

As the Vikings navigate the free agency landscape, securing impactful additions to their interior defensive line stands as a critical priority in fortifying their roster for the upcoming season.

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