4 big decisions that backfired on the Vikings in 2020

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Yannick Ngakoue
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Yannick Ngakoue /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) Linval Joseph /

Releasing Joseph

Linval Joseph was a salary-cap casualty during the 2020 offseason, with the Vikings releasing him to free up some funds to be spent elsewhere. However, when one examines how the 2020 campaign played out, it’s probably a decision Minnesota would like to have back despite the financial implications involved.

The three-time Pro Bowler wasn’t without a home long after he was let go by the Vikings. Joseph signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Los Angeles Chargers that included an $8.5 million signing bonus and $9.5 million guaranteed. His arrival didn’t result in the Chargers reaching the postseason, but the veteran defensive tackle can be proud of his contribution from an individual standpoint.

His old position in the defense is an area where Minnesota struggled mightily in 2020. They weren’t exactly aided by free-agent signing Michael Pierce – who was the ready-made replacement for Joseph – opting out of the season due to COVID-19 health concerns. This eventually resulted in the Vikings giving up 134.4 rushing yards-per-game this past season.

A far cry from the rankings of proud Mike Zimmer teams of old.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have. Had Minnesota known this would happen, there would have been no disputing their need to keep Joseph around. His presence on the line of scrimmage was sorely missed, and improving this positional group is something that the Vikings need to make a top priority in the coming weeks.