Everson Griffin signing with Minnesota?
By: Reese Nasser
With training camp quickly approaching, many high profile free agents are still looking for a team to join next season. The Minnesota Vikings are coming off of a 2020 season that wasn’t particularly great. They finished with a record of 7-9 and were third in the NFC North.
The weakest link of this team was their defense. They allowed 30 points in seven games and teams scored on them with ease. Offenses threw 30 passing touchdowns and rushed for another 19 against this unit. In terms of yardage allowed, they ranked 27th by allowing 393.3 YPG. They finished the season with just 22 takeaways.
With the defense struggling so often throughout the season, the VIkings could look to add veteran defenders to this roster. Even with it already being July, many big name free agents are still available. There are numerous players still available that could help improve this defense significantly. Here are three defeisnes free agents that the Vikings could potentially target.
Defensive end Everson Griffen could be a prime candidate for the Vikings. Griffen spent the first nine seasons of his career in Minnesota. During his time there he became one of the top edge players in the NFL. He started 88 games and appeared in 147. He also stuffed the stat sheet. He tallied 355 tackles, 74.5 sacks, 86 tackles for loss, and 176 quarterback hits.
Last season was Griffen’s first without being on the Vikings. He chose to sign with the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. His time in Dallas really proved to just be a quick rental. He played in just seven games in Dallas before being traded to the Detroit Lions.
Griffen played in just 14 games last season. In these 14 games, he still proved to be effective. He recorded six sacks, 33 tackles, and seven tackles for loss.
Now that Griffen is a free agent again. The Vikings could look to Griffen to help strengthen their defensive line. He has spent almost all of his career exclusively lining up as a right defensive end. The current Vikings starter at that spot is D.J. Wonnum. The former-fourth round pick is entering his second season in the NFL and is coming off of a somewhat lackluster rookie year. The Vikings could look to Griffen to help both teach the younger players and start at that spot until they prove to be ready.
Full Safety Malik Hooker could be an interesting addition to this defense. At just 25 years old, the former Colts defender still has his best football in front of him.
Hooker is coming off of a 2020 campaign where he appeared in just two games after suffering a torn achilles in week two. Since he entered the league in 2017, he has appeared in 36 games and has neer played a full season. Even so, he still has 124 tackles and seven interceptions up to this point in his career.
By signing with Vikings, both parties could benefit. The Vikings could sign Hooker to a “prove-it” deal where he can show that he can still play at a high level. This could then allow Hooker to sign a bigger deal in the future. The Vikings secondary could also benefit from his addition to the unit.
With newly signed free agent Xavier Woods as the starting full safety and Harrison Smith as the starting strong safety, Hooker could be the number two at both spots. The remaining safeties on the roster are younger players who aren’t as experienced as Hooker. His addition could help solidify this secondary.
Cornerback Richard Sherman is one of the best corners in NFL history. His addition would help any defense. The 33-year old is coming off of a season where he battled injuries and appeared in just five games.
But Sherman still has plenty of gas in the tank. In 2019 he started 15 games and still proved that he can play at a high level. He finished the year with three interceptions and 11 passes defended. He also added 61 tackles.
The Vikings added Patrick Peterson to their cornerback room this off-season. Peterson has been an elite level defender since he entered the NFL. The possibility of adding Sherman alongside Peterson could be too good to pass on.
Minnesota’s corners are somewhat lacking outside of Peterson and Cameron Dantzler. Having a player such as Sherman coming off of the bench could take this group to the next level.