What to expect from new Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Sheldon Richardson
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Sheldon Richardson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) Sheldon Richardson /

The Good

Depth at defensive tackle

For the first time in his NFL career, Sheldon Richardson will enter a situation where he won’t be relied on to do much heavy lifting. Entering his ninth season, he will be behind Dalvin Tomlinson on the team’s depth chart at defensive tackle and could be used rotationally and situationally.

Keeping both Tomlinson and Richardson fresh would be a nightmare for opposing offenses. There were too many times last year the defensive line was worn down and defeated, allowing themselves to be pushed around. That shouldn’t be the case if he’s not on the field on a regular basis.

Willingness to work

Sheldon Richardson is coming to Minnesota with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He had 7.5 sacks during his two seasons in Cleveland before returning to the Vikings, yet settled for a smaller role on a familiar team with the Vikings.

This is an opportunity for the big man to put together an impressive year to show he is still a monster on the defensive line and transition that into a more substantial role with a bigger contract for 2022 and on.

Reliability and versatility

Missing two games in five seasons is an impressive feat for any player in the NFL. Considering how physical things can be in the trenches with bodies being pushed everywhere and players hitting the ground, it’s a surprise more linemen don’t end up missing time.

Richardson should be considered insurance for the defensive line and could be a versatile addition who could play either defensive tackle or defensive end for the Vikings if asked and he was willing to do so, according to an interview on Vikings.com.