Defensive end is a position the Vikings will have to target in free agency, either bringing back one of their own or pursuing one from another team.
One name being mentioned in connection with the Vikings is Lamarr Houston of the Raiders. Some thought the Raiders might retain Houston for another year by hitting him with the franchise tag. They certainly have the cap space to do so.
But Monday’s franchise tag deadline came and went and Lamarr Houston remained untagged. So the defensive end will hit the open market.
Pro Football Focus ranks the 26-year-old Houston as the number 3 defensive end in the free agent class, behind Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson. He’s seen as more of a run stopper than a pass rusher at this point in his career, but some think he can develop his game and become a better all-around player.
If there’s one free agent DE Viking fans have their eyes on, it’s Michael Johnson, Mike Zimmer’s former protege. But Johnson may not get a chance to leave Cincinnati.
Plan B for the Vikings may be Houston, a guy who will command a hefty salary, but has lots of potential upside.
Bringing back Everson Griffen remains an option for the Vikings. Jared Allen would appear to be out of the picture due to age and cost.