5 players the Vikings were right to move on from in 2022

(Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images) Anthony Barr
(Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images) Anthony Barr /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Sheldon Richardson /

Sheldon Richardson – DT

Another player who returned to the Vikings last year was Sheldon Richardson. The versatile defensive lineman was used in a rotational role more often than not by Mike Zimmer, which was something of a surprise considering the injury problems Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce went through during the campaign.

Richardson was pretty solid overall, gaining 2.5 sacks, 39 tackles, four pass breakups, 13 quarterback hits, and 18 pressures from 52 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. This was not enough for the Vikings to offer him another contract, with new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looking at alternative options instead.

At least from the outside looking in, Richardson looks like he could fill in as a 3-4 defensive end for the Vikings. Perhaps not from a starting role, but there would certainly be some use in having the experienced lineman as part of the rotation.

Instead, Richardson remains on the free-agent scrapheap as Minnesota relies more on a youth movement across the defensive front. But now that the draft has concluded, his name is one that could be discussed by teams looking for additional help in this critical area of the field.

Whether this newfound ethos will pay off or not remains to be seen. However, it’s something that should be welcomed by a fanbase that hasn’t had any playoff football to cheer about the last two years.

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