How deep is the Vikings’ front seven compared to the rest of the NFL?

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Anthony Barr
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Anthony Barr /

With multiple Pro Bowl players, The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best front sevens in the NFL, but where do they rank among other teams in the league?

The Minnesota Vikings without a doubt have one of the best front seven’s in the NFL. Last week  Chris Wesseling , staff writer, said in his article about the deepest position groups that the Vikings have the deepest front seven.

He also notes that the Philadelphia Eagles have the deepest defensive line grouping. But do the Vikings really have the deepest front seven in the NFL?

Minnesota boasts a trio of Pro Bowlers in the front seven that includes Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, and Everson Griffen. They also a have middle linebacker in Eric Kendricks who is primed to make his first Pro Bowl in 2018.

The other young and rising player who could potentially make a Pro Bowl soon is defensive end Danielle Hunter. Linebacker Ben Gedeon also impressed in 2017 in a limited role as a rookie.

Those six certainly impress anyone, but the Vikings went out and gave a one-year contract worth $11 million to free-agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson this year.

Richardson, who made the Pro Bowl in 2014, spend the first four seasons of his NFL career with the New York Jets. He was then traded to the Seattle Seahawks from the Jets just days before the beginning of the 2017 season.

Related Story: 5 best Vikings pass rushers since 2000

He may have an up and down career to this point, but Minnesota’s new defensive tackle should have a resurgent season playing next to Joseph and having a full training camp.

So we’ve established that the Vikings’ starting front seven is likely the best in the NFL. But how about their depth?

Well here is the falling down point. Minnesota has very little depth after the starters.

The defensive line has some solid depth in Brian Robison, but after that there is not much experience.

In the linebacker group, the Vikings are relying mostly on recently acquired undrafted free-agents to fill in with the suspension of Kentrell Brothers. Minnesota is betting on young players to develop and add depth.

Other options are to pick up a veteran free-agent for depth. Some names of interest might be Lawrence Timmons or Navorro Bowman if the price is right for Bowman and he’s willing to accept a backup role.

The Vikings will most likely add a veteran to the mix unless the young players impress in training camp.

If not the Vikings, then who has that deepest front seven?

First instinct is to say the Eagles, but the loss of some key players and injuries have them taking a step back this year. So the other pick for the NFL’s deepest front seven in 2018 has to be the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

While their starting front seven doesn’t match the Vikings, they are a close second. Depth wise they have Marcell Dareus, Taven Bryan, and their younger players have more snaps than Minnesota’s young players do. If Dante Fowler can come back, it only adds more depth to the Jaguars’ front seven.

A quick look over NFL rosters will tell you that most teams don’t have depth after their starters on the front seven. Most teams seem to favor sacrificing defensive line and linebacker depth for depth in the secondary with the prevalence of the passing game.

In a league where the front seven depth isn’t a priority, one strategy to cover this up is to have overwhelming talent among your starters. If a team has to throw in an inexperienced player, like with the Vikings, they will be surrounded by one of the top players in the league at their positions. Having that level of talent can cover up deficiencies in depth, to a point.

Next: Top 6 position battles at Vikings camp in 2018

To sum it up, the problem may come if there are multiple injuries in the front seven and they can no longer mask shortcomings of the backups. In any case, the Vikings appear to have the best front seven going into 2018 and they should be able to compensate for short term injuries.