Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Fred Evans (90) celebrates a sack with defensive tackle Letroy Guion (98) against the Houston Texans during the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Continuing our look at the big positional battles that we expect will emerge in camp. We’ve already pondered the looming competitions at wide receiver and (I think anyway) safety. Now let’s look at another one of these races, the race for the starting nose tackle spot. This battle is as of right now a two-man deal. Here are the combatants and where they stand:
The incumbent. He was decent in 2012 but only decent. This guy has one great advantage though: he is Leslie Frazier’s guy. For some reason Frazier just has faith in Guion. I guess he thinks there is some untapped potential there that is just waiting to be realized. I’m not sure I agree. I think Guion will never develop beyond adequate. And adequate is not good enough to earn a guy a guaranteed starting job. At least it shouldn’t be. But Frazier tends to operate differently. He tends to give guys the benefit of the doubt. It takes injury or a string of catastrophically horrible games for Frazier to ever pull a guy. Is that loyalty, stubbornness or just the inability to recognize reality? Hard to say. But Frazier’s arguably myopic approach to personnel decisions is certainly the best thing Guion has going for him.
Evans has always been inconsistent. That’s just the reality of him as a player. But when he’s on there is no doubt he is a better, more productive nose tackle than Letroy Guion. He is no Pat Williams but he is a guy who will make a play. Sometimes he will make a big play. He has more big play ability than Guion for sure. If he could just lock it down and play with consistency, he would be the clear starter. Assuming Frazier gave him the chance to prove himself. That’s the big question mark in this equation. We know other coaches have talked to Frazier about Evans and they convinced Frazier to give him a shot in minicamp. But will that continue into training camp? This should be an open battle as far as I’m concerned. Open battles are good for teams, not bad.
Anyone else want to jump in?
Clearly this is a two man race. There’s no one else on the roster who figures into this battle. Actually it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot who is the starter at nose and who is the backup. Alan Williams likes to shuffle his personnel and will likely be using a multitude of packages with various guys lining up various places. Ultimately this is a matter of total snaps rather than who is in there at the start of the game.
Next up: Right guard