In case you need a reminder of who Armon Watts is, he was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. During that rookie season, he did not get a ton of playing time, appearing in just seven games.
From that point on, though, Watts became a bigger part of the Vikings defensive scheme. In 2020, he played in all 16 regular season games, and then in 2021, he played all 17 with nine starts.
Over those two seasons, Watts recorded 5.5 sacks and became one of the few bright spots on the Vikings defense. Heading into this preseason, he was listed as a starter on the Vikings unofficial depth chart. That made it even more surprising when the Vikings opted to cut the defensive lineman ahead of the 2022 regular season.
Adding salt to the wound for Vikings fans was the fact that the Chicago Bears ended up picking him up off waivers, meaning Minnesota had essentially gifted one of their starting defenders to their division rivals.
Well, so far into the 2022 season, things haven’t exactly been pretty for the Bears defense or Watts. Chicago spent much of the offseason unloading star talent, and then at the trade deadline, they moved both Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith. After Week 12, the Bears have given up the third-most points and the seventh-most yards in the NFL.
For Watts, he has recorded just three TFLs, and just this past weekend against the New York Jets, he finally got on the board with his first sack of 2022. That didn’t help Chicago much, though, as they fell 31-10 to Mike White and the Jets. They now sit with a record of 3-9, securing their second straight losing season.
Meanwhile, the Vikings defense hasn’t necessarily set the world on fire, but they are making plays when it’s needed. They’ve gotten strong showings from players like Harrison Phillips and Dalvin Tomlinson (when healthy). With Tomlinson out, Ross Blacklock and James Lynch have played well, too.
The moral of this story is that we may need to trust Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with this roster construction. Moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4, perhaps the Vikings front office simply didn’t see Watts as a fit in their system. No matter the reasoning, it appears they were correct about their willingness to move on from Watts.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.