Keeps Lesser Players on the Roster
Prior to Michael Pierce opting out, certain Viking defensive tackles were definitely on the roster bubble. Veteran players like Shamar Stephen, Jaleel Johnson, and Jalyn Holmes were not sure bets to make the roster but with Pierce now gone their chances increase greatly. Not only do their chances of making the team go up, but these are now guys who will be counted on to produce.
Shamar Stephen is the one who benefits the most. This guy’s strength is supposed to be in stopping the run and that was a major reason why the Vikings brought him back in 2019. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the player he was when he left and managed to accumulate just 21 tackles.
Stephen could bounce back. The Vikings used him as a three-technique penetrator often last season and that isn’t what he’s suited for. He’s a nose tackle and could have a season like he did in 2016, with 39 tackles if he’s moved back to his natural position.
It’s shocking that he could go from cut material to a starter, but that is the reality of the situation now that Michael Pierce won’t be playing in 2020.