Vikings Rumors: Minnesota interested in former Bengals defensive tackle

(Photo by Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services) Geno Atkins
(Photo by Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services) Geno Atkins /

Despite just signing Dalvin Tomlinson, the Minnesota Vikings are reportedly interested in free-agent defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings had one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL. They couldn’t put pressure on the opposing quarterback and they couldn’t stop the run.

Some of their struggles in 2020 were out of their control thanks to injuries and COVID-19. But improving this element of their team is something that the Vikings have clearly placed a heavy emphasis on this offseason.

To help turn things around for the unit in 2021, Minnesota was able to sign former New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson last week. Despite adding Tomlinson, however, the Vikings apparently still have interest in adding more experience to their group of defensive tackles.

Vikings Rumors: Minnesota reportedly interested in signing Geno Atkins

Recently, the Cincinnati Bengals made the tough decision to release their longtime defensive tackle, Geno Atkins. After the Bengals selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Atkins was able to develop into one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league.

Part of his development was aided by the guidance of current Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer when he was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator during Atkins’ first four seasons with the franchise.

With the veteran defender now a free agent, the connections between him and Zimmer are being made by many. Throw in the fact that one of Atkins’ other former defensive coordinators while he was with the Bengals, Paul Guenther, is now also a member of the Vikings coaching staff, and the speculation about the defender landing in purple grows even larger.

Apparently, there’s more than just speculation happening. Minnesota actually has interest in signing Atkins according to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson.

The Vikings likely aren’t interested in bringing in the former Cincinnati defensive tackle to be a starter next season since they already have a bunch of money invested in Tomlinson and Michael Pierce. But if Atkins’ price tag isn’t too high and he’s willing to take on a more situational role, then it’s definitely possible that something could work out between him and Minnesota this year.

Zimmer obviously doesn’t want his defensive line to resemble anything close to how the unit performed last season. If the Vikings add Atkins, he could help erase some of the bad memories created by the team’s defensive line in 2020.