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Vikings Urged to Keep Big Man in the Middle


Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) celebrates a tackle against the New York Giants during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL free agency begins in about six weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings will make decisions on 18 in-house free agents.

Minnesota finished 13-4 in the regular season but disappointingly lost at home to the New York Giants two weeks ago in the postseason.

Vikings Urged to Keep Big Man in the Middle

And between now and March 15th, the Vikings will examine these 18 free agents for contract possible extensions:

  • Kris Boyd (CB)
  • Garrett Bradbury (C)
  • Blake Brandel (OT)
  • Jonathan Bullard (DL)
  • Andrew DePaola (LS)
  • Ben Ellefson (TE)
  • Bisi Johnson (WR)
  • Greg Joseph (K)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Nick Mullens (QB)
  • Patrick Peterson (CB)
  • Austin Schlottman (C)
  • Duke Shelley (CB)
  • Irv Smith (TE)
  • Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)
  • Khyiris Tonga (NT)
  • Chandon Sullivan (CB)
  • Oli Udoh (OT)

Indeed, Vikings general manager has an offseason puzzle to solve, and while doing so, he should retain defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, says Bleacher Report. Kristopher Knox from BR published an article Monday detailing one free agent every playoff team should keep. For the Vikings, that’s Tomlinson.

Vikings Urged to Keep Big
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) reacts after a play against the New York Giants during the third quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Knox explained, “One defender who should stick around is defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. The 28-year-old was a force against both the run and the pass in 2022, finishing with 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 14 quarterback pressures.”

“Good defensive tackles aren’t easy to find, especially those on the under side of 30 […] Tomlinson, who has a projected market value of $8.5 million annually, is the player Minnesota must retain if it can make things work financially,” Knox argued.

The 10 Most Expensive
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Tomlinson joined the Vikings in 2021 as the franchise’s splashy signing that offseason. He inked a 2-year $21 million contract, a smallish contract in NFL-speak but large for Minnesota’s cap situation at the time. Then, in 2022, his contract was reworked, pushing $7.5 million onto this year’s ledger, so he’ll be on the Vikings books no matter what.

No Vikings player on the current defensive roster is more consistent than Tomlinson. It’s not really a debate. He’s always the same guy — week in and week out — recording a Pro Football Focus grade in the 70s. He doesn’t play utterly elite, nor does Tomlinson produce “bad games.” He’s just a solid defensive lineman and a pretty damn good human.

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) pressures Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) causing a fumble during their football game on Sunday, January, 1, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. © Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The man registered 42 total tackles, 10 QB hits, 3 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and a 77.1 PFF grade in 2022. His only downfall was missing four games to injury. If the Vikings let Tomlinson walk in March, newcomer Khyiris Tonga, who’s quietly performed marvelously in 2022, could slide into his spot.

With his dead cap hit already impacting the 2023 salary cap, there’s a decent chance Tomlinson will stay with the Vikings in 2023, though. Plus, as the Vikings trim expensive, aging veterans from the roster, Tomlinson doesn’t really fit the criteria. He’ll be 29 next season, and that isn’t very old for an interior defensive lineman.

The Vikings signed Sheldon Day, a defensive tackle like Tomlinson, to a ‘futures’ contract on Monday.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.


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