E Point Perfect

Vikings Designate Defensive Starter for Return


Vikings Designate Defensive Starter for Return
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jonathan Bullard. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings placed right tackle Brian O’Neill and center Austin Schlottmann on Injured Reserve this week after a brutal loss to the Green Bay Packers. O’Neill partially tore his Achilles tendon, while Schlottmann broke his foot. Brutal, indeed.

Meanwhile, starting defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard was designated for return after missing about a month due to a bicep injury. The Vikings now have 21 days to fully activate Bullard to the active roster, or he’ll revert to season-ending IR status.

Vikings Designate Defensive Starter for Return

Before his injury in early December, Bullard was a starter on the Vikings defensive line and could regain that gig as early as this weekend. Minnesota employs Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith as outside linebackers (or EDGE rushers), Harrison Phillips at nose tackle, and then Dalvin Tomlinson as Bullard as the other defensive linemen. In Bullard’s stead recently, Minnesota has utilized James Lynch and Khyiris Tonga as replacements.

Vikings Designate Defensive
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jonathan Bullard. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added Bullard to the Vikings roster in June, and at the time, he seemed like just “a guy” who could go either way in making the 53-man roster. But Bullard won the hearts of Minnesota’s coaching staff and ultimately started 11 games in 2022 before the injury.

The Vikings mark Bullard’s fifth team in seven seasons, previously working for the Atlanta Falcons (2021), Seattle Seahawks (2020), Arizona Cardinals (2019), and Bears (2016-2018). Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Bullard has registered 136 total tackles, 16 quarterback hits, and 3.5 sacks in 81 career games.

The Most Surprising Part of the Vikings Depth Chart
Aug 13, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Bullard. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports.

Bullard was employed with Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell from 2016 to 2018 in Chicago while Donatell was the defensive backs coach. To date in 2022, he’s recorded a 58.0 grade from Pro Football Focus.

If Bullard returns this Sunday, he’d join the aforementioned Tonga and cornerback Duke Shelley as former Chicago Bears playing against their old team. The Vikings travel to Soldier Field this weekend and are 7.5-point favorites to take down the Nathan Peterman-led Bears.

The Vikings designated Irv Smith for return from Injured Reserve last week, too, although the young tight end has not experienced placement on the active roster as of Week 17.

Vikings Sign Bears DE
Aug 29, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports.

Bullard returns to the roster of Vikings defensive group that can’t quite “figure it out.” Minnesota ranks second-to-worst in the NFL per points allowed but usually finds ways to stiffen in the 4th Quarter with the game on the line. The strategy has been called by many — ad nauseam — a “bend but don’t break” style of defense.

Adofo-Mensah signed Bullard for one season, and the 29-year-old is scheduled to become a free agent in March.

The Vikings have won two games in a row at Soldier Field.

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 Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


Source link

Related posts

Vikings Release Defensive Preseason Hero

Could This Be Adam Thielen’s Last Dance?

Vikings Look to Solve an Old-School Puzzle

Storylines of Vikings Week 2 Matchup

Vikings 1st-Rounder Leaves Game with ‘Gruesome’ Injury

Per PFF, the Vikings Top 2022 Players from Best to Worst: After Week 3