Vikings listed as a ‘logical landing spot’ for free-agent defensive end
By Adam Patrick
Could the Minnesota Vikings look to add another veteran free agent to their defense before the start of the 2021 season?
Last season, the Minnesota Vikings had a historically terrible pass rush. The Vikings’ defense managed to end the 2020 campaign with only 23 sacks, which was the third-fewest they’ve finished in the history of the franchise.
Minnesota‘s lack of ability to get to the opposing quarterback played a large part in their defense taking some major steps in the wrong direction last year.
For the 2021 season, however, the Vikings should expect to at least have an average pass rush with the addition of Sheldon Richardson and the returns of Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr.
Are the Minnesota Vikings done adding veteran free agents to their roster?
So far this offseason, Minnesota has spent the majority of their assets on guys who play on the defensive side of the ball. Since free agency started in March, the Vikings have added several experienced veteran defenders to their roster, including Richardson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, Xavier Woods, and Mackensie Alexander.
There’s still a little more than a month left until Minnesota begins this summer’s training camp. If the Vikings are interested in adding another veteran free agent to their roster, one would assume they would like to do that before camp starts.
Minnesota’s group of defensive ends is an area of their roster that they haven’t really used free agency to improve this offseason. So if they were to add another free agent, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they chose to sign a new pass rusher.
Among the defensive ends who are still available is former Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Justin Houston. Multiple teams could use Houston’s abilities on their defense next season, but Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon believes the Vikings would be one of five “logical landing spots,” for the veteran pass rusher this year.
The 32-year-old Houston spent the last two seasons with the Colts, starting all 32 games, and accumulating a total of 19 sacks.
Based on Minnesota’s spending habits this offseason, it wouldn’t be shocking if they attempted to sign the veteran defensive end this year. If the Vikings are going to bring him though, it would probably be for him to fill the other starting defensive end role opposite of Danielle Hunter next season and not as a situational pass rusher.
There haven’t been any reports of Minnesota having any actual interest in Houston. But just like the Richardson signing, there are some things happening behind the scenes that the Vikings just like to keep quiet.