Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph (97) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Top 25 Vikings of 2014: No. 6 DT Linval Joseph

The countdown rolls on endlessly. Now we’re up to #6…

DT Linval Joseph

The move to sign Linval Joseph this offseason could prove to be one of the biggest decisions of Rick Spielman’s tenure as Vikings’ GM.

The Vikes went for years under Leslie Frazier without a real nose tackle, trying to employ 3-techs like Letroy Guion and Fred Evans in that position, under the apparent belief that smaller, quicker players would get more penetration and be more disruptive.

But the Guion-Evans rotation never really worked out the way Frazier intended (whatever his intentions really were), and once Frazier was finally gone, Spielman moved quickly to find a true nose tackle for Mike Zimmer.

Early concerns about Joseph’s physical condition – he admitted hiding a shoulder injury his last year with the Giants – quickly fell away once camp began, and Joseph began showing off what a true specimen he is.

An offseason spent working out has paid off for Joseph, who thus far has performed exactly as Mike Zimmer envisioned. Joseph brings a space-eating physical presence that has been missing from the Vikings’ defense since the days of Pat Williams.

With Joseph anchoring the middle of the line, the Vikings have a chance to quickly establish themselves up front where it counts. Talent-wise, the Vikes have the makings of a very good D-line. And Joseph could prove to be the true heart and soul, as well as the beef, of that unit.


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