Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) is carted off the field after being injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings may not be done tweaking and retooling along their defensive line. According to Ian Rapoport, the team has lined up another visit with a free agent defensive tackle.
And this one is a little bit surprising when you consider the current depth chart.
Rapoport says the Vikings will meet with Bears free agent DT Henry Melton. The Cowboys reportedly also have interest in Melton.
This is an intriguing situation for a variety of reasons. Melton is coming off injury, but before hurting himself last year, he was performing at a top level.
Had it not been for the injury, Melton might have been in line for a very big-money extension from the Bears. As it is, they allowed him to hit the market, perhaps hoping the injury would chase teams away and they could bring him back on a smaller deal.
Point here being, Henry Melton is at this point in his career a solid starting-level defensive tackle if healthy. A possible Pro Bowler, in fact. The Vikings we assumed already had their starting defensive tackle situation locked down between Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd. So why the interest in Melton?
It appears we may have assumed too much when we thought defensive tackle was no longer a need. The Vikings’ interest in Melton must raise questions about 2013 first round pick Sharrif Floyd and whether Mike Zimmer considers him a genuine fit.
The fact on Floyd is that he was drafted to play in Leslie Frazier’s system which favored defensive linemen with quick get-off. Zimmer’s system is more set up for guys who play the run and bring some physicality to the equation.
It’s possible that Zimmer looks at Floyd and just doesn’t like what he sees.
Melton would give Zimmer a player who can stop the run, which is what Zimmer appears to favor in his interior linemen. Linval Joseph also fits this profile, and has the size to play the nose.
At this point in his career, and in spite of the injury, I don’t see how a team brings in Henry Melton unless they are looking at Henry Melton as a possible starter. If the Vikings sign Melton, I think it means a diminished role for Sharrif Floyd.
And that means you will ultimately get much less value than what you expected out of your first round pick.