E Point Perfect – Interesting and beneficial content

Major Pieces from 2017 Vikings Defense Now Undesired


Major Pieces from 2017 Vikings Defense Now Undesired
Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes

Five years in NFL time is a lifespan for some, and a relevant case study involves the 2017 Minnesota Vikings defensive personnel.

In 2017, the Vikings rode a hellishly good defense — with a playground-style offense — to the NFC Championship after losing the QB1 and RB1 early in the regular season. Case Keenum took over for Sam Bradford, and a twosome of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon filled in admirably for then-rookie Dalvin Cook to keep the offense afloat.

But defense was unmistakably the Vikings calling card, and Minnesota almost reached the Super Bowl accordingly. At the time, Minnesota’s 3rd Down defense was among the best in recorded history.

Now, though, fast forward five years, and some of the personnel from that legendary unit are not desired. Oodles of 2017 alumni are free agents with no apparent plans to join teams.

Anthony Barr was expected to have at least a modest market for free agency, but through three months on the open market, Barr has signed nowhere. The standstill led some to speculate about Barr’s injury status. Perhaps the 30-year-old is suffering from a chronic knee injury. Barr is a four-time Pro Bowler and has not yet hit the twilight of his career. If healthy, he should be in some team’s free-agent plans, even if it isn’t the new-look Vikings. The New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys have been whispered as landing spots.

Everson Griffen played for the Vikings in 2021 before encountering a mental health absence. Like Barr, Griffen is still effective on the field and was one of the Vikings lone sources of pass rush after Danielle Hunter was lost of the season on Halloween night. Yet, Griffen is older than Barr, so the lack of interest from teams this spring and summer is a little more explainable.

Everson Griffen
Dec 29, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Linval Joseph spent two years with the Los Angeles Chargers after departing the Vikings in 2020. And he’s been curiously spotted around Vikings headquarters in the last few weeks, leading some to speculate about a reunion with the Kevin O’Connell version of the Vikings. For now, however, those are just theories to explain Joseph’s presence in Eagan. Joseph is a Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowler who turns 34 in October. He should have a season or two left in the tank.

Xavier Rhodes, at the peak of his powers, might’ve been the “best” Viking on this list. He played for the Indianapolis Colts in 2020 and 2021 and actually performed well. But like Barr, Griffen, and Joseph, Rhodes remains unemployed through mid-June.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In 2016 and 2017, Rhodes was the Vikings version of a shutdown corner and was indisputably one of the NFL’s best. He struggled down the stretch of his Vikings tenure, especially in the 2019 season, but was an asset regardless in his days with the purple team.

To a lesser degree of surprise, Mackensie Alexander is unsigned, too. He came back to the Vikings for the 2021 season but ranked as the worst corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Because of that regrettable distinction, no team has signed on for Alexander’s seventh season.

Finally, Trae Waynes casually announced his retirement on Monday. Waynes told the Geary and Stein Show, “Multiple teams have actually called, but in my head, I’m done. I’m not officially doing it, I’d say, just because I don’t do that shit. I’m retired, but it’s not like I announced it or anything.”

Waynes bolted for Cincinnati in 2020, signed a lucrative contract, played five games for the Bengals, and skedaddled to life after football.

Other lower-tier players from the 2017 defense who remain 2022 free agents include Andrew Sendejo and Shamar Stephen.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

Not-Old Former Viking Unceremiously Calls It Quits


Source link

Related posts

Vikings Pro Bowlers Go to Familiar Location in 2023

4 Reasons Why the Vikings Would Be Better off Losing at CHI

Vikings Won’t Face Matt Ryan when They Play Colts

Only 3 Vikings Played Well vs. GB

There’s Been an Adam Thielen Disappearing Act

The Context for Trae Waynes’ Anger at Vikings