Dalvin Tomlinson Signing Should Instill Confidence in Vikings Fans
For most of Day 1 of the “legal tampering period” for NFL free agency, the Minnesota Vikings stood on the sidelines. The team was linked to big names along the offensive and defensive lines, but with every passing hour those names would sign big-money contracts with other teams. Restless, Viking fans felt as if general manager Rick Spielman had neglected his duties. Then, as the night grew darker, the Vikings made a move that will not shake the NFL world, but should instill confidence in Vikings fans across the country. With the addition of defensive tackle/nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, the Vikings defense got better on Monday.
According to Ben Goessling, the addition of Tomlinson does not affect the Vikings’ plans for Michael Pierce. While both are known as nose tackles, Tomlinson adds a bit of a pass rushing element in the interior and could be used as a three-technique. While the stats won’t light the world on fire, he generated 3.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons. As we have stated before, that would be tied for the team lead for players not named Yannick Ngakoue.
Tomlinson will be brought in more for his run-stopping ability, though. His run defense grade in 2020 was the lowest of his career according to Pro Football Focus, and that was still a 70.3 grade. With him and Pierce manning the middle, the Vikings will almost surely improve upon their 27th ranked run defense from 2020. When that improves, the defense as a whole will improve as Zimmer will be able to get more creative on later downs.
It was maybe a long shot from the time the season ended, but the Tomlinson signing puts to rest any chance of Minnesota selecting Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore at pick 14 in the draft. From here, the team can focus on defensive end (and maybe a replacement for Danielle Hunter) or offensive line in the first round. And, with filling the hole of defensive tackle, the team can move up or down the draft without neglecting the hole. If a player they covet falls, they can move up. If they want to accumulate picks, they can trade down from 14 without missing out on impact players at positions of need.