Our positional breakdown series continues with a look at defensive tackle. Things are in flux at that position after a splashy draft pick. Let’s run down the depth chart as it currently stands:
1. Kevin Williams
This could be it for K-Will. He renegotiated and is now in the final year of his deal. And the Vikings drafted a guy who looks like his heir apparent. He can still be a good player but he will never be dominating again as he was during his best years. He figures to see reduced snaps as Alan Williams mixes in other guys. This could be the year we see the hockey line philosophy kick in up front.
2. Letroy Guion
Underwhelming at the nose last year. The Vikings made no effort to draft a replacement. He’s a mediocre run defender and mostly a non-factor as a pass rusher.
3. Sharrif Floyd
Everyone thinks this guy “dropped” down the draft board and into the Vikings’ lap. It’s more likely he was overvalued by the so-called experts and was always going to end up being taken early 20s. The Vikes are happy to have him either way. He clearly has some talent. He fits as a 3-tech in the Vikings’ scheme which favors quickness over raw power. The Vikes have the luxury of mixing him in slowly behind K-Will.
4. Fred Evans
There is very little separation between Guion and Evans. In my mind they are nose tackle 1 and 1A. Evans may be a little better playmaker than Guion if not quite as consistent on a down-by-down basis. Evans has a tendency to make dumb mistakes.
5. Christian Ballard
Odd-man-out if the Vikings employ an 8-man D-line rotation. He does have some positional flexibility though. You can work him at defensive end if need be. Versatility is probably his strength. He could end up on the bubble in camp. We’ll see how it goes for him.
6. Everett Dawkins
Late-round draft pick looks like a future practice squad guy. Things are a little crowded at that 3-tech spot right now.
Where do we stand at defensive tackle?
The future looks bright with Sharrif Floyd stepping in as K-Will’s understudy. I’m still not really that sold on Guion as the nose but he’s there and that’s how it is. Alan Williams has plenty of interchangeable parts along the D-line to mix-and-match with and find the combinations he likes. Everson Griffen will get plenty of looks at the nose in pass rush situations too. It’s all about varying the personnel packages and throwing different looks at the opposing offense.