Linval Joseph can make a huge impact in the middle of the Minnesota Vikings defense and teammates have no problem praising the play of the ‘Big Goon’.
Winning at the line of scrimmage is essential in today National Football League. The Minnesota Vikings being able to dominate the opposing lineman and push them backwards creates great opportunities for big plays.
One of the key pieces in that defensive line is Linval Joseph. Standing 6’4″ and weighing 239 pounds according to the official Vikings website, Joseph regularly makes plays against both the run and the pass.
This big play ability of the “Big Goon” isn’t lost on his teammates. Recently, follow defensive tackle Tom Johnson praised the physical presence and ability of Joseph in a recent article on the ESPN website.
"“He eats up centers,” Johnson said. “He’s a big guy that’s strong. He’s 335 or 340 pounds and he’s pound-for-pound the strongest guy on our team. Easily. And he’s quickly. You don’t see big guys like that move like that. If you watch film, you watch practice tape, this guy can move, he can run and eat up screens, he’s throwing centers around, he’s very disruptive. That makes him great. And he’s hungry. He’s out here every day trying to get to the ball, trying to get better, trying to master his craft and it definitely shows on Sundays.”"
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Sadly, great play on defense doesn’t always translate to amazing stats. While much of the talk about great defenders is about the players who get a lot of sacks or interceptions, there is something about quietly being a dominating force in the middle.
"“When people rate defensive linemen, they rate them off sacks,” defensive line coach Andre Patterson said. “They look at sack numbers and say, ‘oh this guy’s good because he gets sacks and this guy isn’t good because he doesn’t get sacks,’ but if you rate them off value to win games – what does he do against the run, how does he affect the passing game – he’s the best nose tackle in the league.”"
Being a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense is nothing new to the Vikings. For a long time, Pat Williams was part of their vaunted “Williams Wall” in the middle, where the big man would eat up offense linemen on a regular basis.
Minnesota has something similar with Linval Joseph, and definitely notice when he’s not available for games.
"“He definitely wears guys out. He’s a monster. He makes teams have to focus more on him, which opens up a lot for the three-technique, so he’s a large part of our defense. He makes a big difference and you can really tell when we don’t have him around what we’re missing.”"
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph and the rest of the hard-hitting Minnesota Vikings defense can be seen as they attempt to recapture the NFC North crown and return to the playoffs during the 2017 NFL season.