Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings spent a lot of money in free agency addressing their defensive line, but it looks like they’re trying to add some young talent up front as well.
North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin was at Winter Park last week, likely for the team’s “Top 30” event, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
Tomasson points out in his article that Martin could be an interesting fit for the Vikings because he reminds people of a former Mike Zimmer player: Michael Johnson. Martin has similar physical dimensions to Johnson at 6-feet-6-inches and 272 pounds (Johnson is 6-feet-7-inches and around 260 pounds).
Martin also had the longest arms of any defensive end at the Combine, according to Adam Caplan.
Martin, of course, has plenty of work to do until he earns a payday like Johnson received this offseason. Martin is currently being viewed as a Day Two prospect, as his play tends to be inconsistent.
Martin’s stats did increased overall year to year though, and by his senior season he totaled 11.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed.
The stats show that Martin is able to attack offenses in a variety of ways, but he’s not always at his best with his hand in the dirt outside a tackle. Martin may not be suited for a traditional defensive end role, instead functioning better as a moving piece on the defensive line attacking from a variety of spots.
That versatility may appeal to Mike Zimmer, who likes to throw many different looks at his opponents and use his personnel in unique ways. If Zimmer could find a way to keep Martin’s cold streaks to a minimum through scheme creativity, Martin could end up being a highly productive player.
Martin is only the second true defensive lineman the Vikings have talked to this offseason (the other being Aaron Donald at the Combine), and he was the only one at Winter Park this past week. The team also had Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State out for a visit, who is projected as a defensive end-linebacker hybrid.
With Martin’s addition to the list of “Top 30” visits, 14 different players have been reported as attending the event. Keep track of those prospects and the other non-quarterback prospects the Vikings have talked to here.
So what do you think Vikings fans? Do you think Martin could fit into this defense? Would you rather this team address other needs on Day Two? Sound off in the comments below or on Twitter @Goatman102!