The Minnesota Vikings are turning over a new leaf on the defensive line. The two defensive tackles will be first time starters in Minnesota.
Sharrif Floyd returns after posting solid numbers as a rookie. The former first round draft pick is expected to take over for current free agent Kevin Williams. The other starter is expected to be free agent signee Linval Joseph. The Vikings gave him a lucrative multi-year contract to plug the middle and stop the run.
The top reserves are expected to be Fred Evans, who has been the backup nose tackle for several years, and free agent signee Tom Johnson. Evans (30 years old) and Johnson (29) are both considered to be role players and not long-term starters.
The other two defensive tackles on the roster are Chase Baker and Kheeston Randall. Both are second-year players with little experience. Baker was signed by the Vikings as a rookie free agent and spent his first season on the team’s practice squad. Last season, he was active for five games, but did not record any statistics. Randall spent his first season with the Miami Dolphins and played in 12 games making eight tackles. Last season, he was on the Cincinnati Bengals roster for two weeks, but did not play.
The Vikings have depth issues at defensive tackle, but may be okay with what they have going forward. Given all the needs this team has, defensive tackle may not be a high priority. Here are the top five defensive tackles as well as an underrated, an overrated and sleeper prospect in the 2014 draft.