The Vikings went into free agency with a primary goal being to shore up the defensive line. They made a big splash on the first day.
The Vikings agreed to terms Monday night with defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson on a two-year, $22 million contract. Tomlinson has played nose tackle the past two seasons for the New York Giants but indications are Minnesota will use him at the three-technique spot. The 6-foot-3, 318-pound Tomlinson has played that position and even defensive end before.
Tomlinson’s deal includes $16 million full guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus. Monday marked the first day that teams could negotiate with free agents on other teams, and Tomlinson can sign as soon as Wednesday, when the new league year begins.
Tomlinson’s deal mans that Jaleel Johnson, last year’s starter at three-technique defensive tackle, likely won’t return as a free agent. And the future also could be uncertain for Shamar Stephen, who played nose tackle in 2020 after being at the three-technique spot. Stephen is under contract in 2021.
The Vikings now appear to have three positions set on the defensive line for 2021. Left defensive end Danielle Hunter will return after being out 2020 due to neck surgery and nose tackle Michael Pierce will be back after sitting out the season due to the coronavirus pandemic and his history of asthma. With Hunter and Pierce out, the Vikings had just 23 sacks in 2020.
It remains to be seen who might start at right defensive end. Competition could be between Stephen Weatherly, Jalyn Holmes and D.J. Wonnum and also possibly Ifeadi Odenigbo, who was last year’s starter but is now a restricted free agent.