4 players that better not return to the Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Chris Jones
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Chris Jones /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) Shamar Stephen /

Shamar Stephen – DT

Minnesota’s defensive coaches seem to have some sort of weird obsession with Shamar Stephen that portrays him as the second-coming of John Randle. But Stephen isn’t even the second-coming of Chris Hovan, so it’s hard to understand what he does so well that results in the Vikings coaches raving about him.

With Michael Pierce’s decision to opt-out of the 2020 season due to health concerns related to COVID-19, Stephen was forced to spend a bunch of his time on the field this year lined up as Minnesota’s nose tackle. Unsurprisingly, the position switch didn’t go very well.

In 16 games this past season, Stephen finished with 34 tackles (two for a loss), five pressures, three quarterback hits, and 0.5 sacks. His underwhelming performance was also a big factor in the Vikings ending 2020 with the 27th-ranked run defense.

Stephen has one year remaining on his contract with Minnesota and his cap hit for 2021 is currently scheduled to be just over $5 million. The Vikings would save just under $4 million if they cut the defensive tackle this year and this is exactly what they should do.