Michael Pierce – DT
The Vikings signed former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce this offseason and he was their biggest signing of free agency.
It was a bit of a surprise, as many figured Jaleel Johnson would get a chance to start in 2020 next to Shamar Stephen after Linval Joseph was cut. Minnesota could’ve been betting on him to shine during a contract season and with their cap situation, that seemed like the logical way to go.
Instead, the Vikings went out and signed the “Juggernaut” from Baltimore to be the new primary run-stuffer in Mike Zimmer’s defense. While Pierce is an exciting player with a huge personality, it’s fair to question if Minnesota and their fans are too excited about him and have unrealistic expectations.
While Pierce is definitely younger than Joseph, will he be any better? To best answer that, comparing their stats the last couple of seasons is a good place to start.
Joseph had 58 tackles in 2018 and 44 in 2019. He also had a combined 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in that span. Pierce had 32 tackles in 2018 and 35 in 2019. He had a combined six tackles for a loss and half a sack. So solely going on production, this move looks to be a downgrade.
Obviously, the scheme and how they are used in each respective defense can skew those numbers. We’ll see how Pierce does in Zimmer’s system and if the change in scheme improves his stats.
Going solely off of production, maybe the Vikings and their fans shouldn’t be as excited about this large new face in the middle of their defensive line as they have been.