6 free-agent linebackers the Vikings could sign in 2020

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Mychal Kendricks
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Mychal Kendricks /
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(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) Deone Bucannon
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) Deone Bucannon /

Deone Bucannon

Deone Bucannon was once a promising first-round pick who many thought would help transform the Arizona Cardinals defense into an intimidating unit.

While he didn’t meet those lofty expectations, he has had some very productive years in the NFL. He had over 400 tackles for the Cardinals his first five seasons with the club in addition to his seven sacks and two interceptions.

Bucannon played kind of a dual role in Arizona. He played some safety and moved to inside linebacker in 2015 when the defense needed help due to others being injured.

Bucannon played well at his new position and he continued to play linebacker even though he was a bit undersized. At the end of the 2016 season, he injured his ankle and despite being able to play through the injury in 2017, he ended up having surgery after that season. He was never quite the same and in 2018, he had his worst year as a pro.

Bucannon eventually parted ways the Cardinals and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. He only lasted in Tampa Bay for five games before he was cut and then he landed with the New York Giants.

Bucannon ended up having 25 tackles in nine appearances for the Giants last season. But he wasn’t overly impressive and he will be testing the free-agent market once again this year.

Bucannon is only 27-years-old. He was very productive early in his career and with the right coaching, he could reach those levels once again.

He was definitely slowed by his ankle injury and perhaps he has yet to fully recover from it. Bucannon wouldn’t cost the Vikings a ton of money to sign and he could be brought in as a safety/linebacker hybrid who could provide depth at multiple positions and also be a special teams standout.