has been an underrated force over the last three years. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Vikings re-signed defensive ends Brian Robison (last season) and Everson Griffen (a few days ago) in an effort to rebuild a formerly great defense that had fallen short in recent times with a few key players. And with the Jared Allen era now a thing of the past -- Allen was last seen visiting the Denver Broncos -- general manager Rick Spielman took a decisive step forward in that reconstruction effort by agreeing to terms with former New York Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Joseph will receive a five-year, $31.5 million contract and will anchor the interior of Minnesota's defensive line alongside tackle Sharrif Floyd, one of Minnesota's three first-round picks in 2013.
The 6-foot-4, 328-pound Joseph was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2012 draft out of East Carolina, and after a rookie campaign in which he played in just six games and started none, Joseph really started to shine in the 2011 season. He had two sacks and 34 solo tackles that year, and he's improved as a pass disruptor in every season since. In 2013, Joseph had three sacks and a host of pressures for a man his size, matching his 2011 career-high in tackles.
Joseph was Pro Football Focus' 21st-ranked defensive tackle regardless of scheme in 2013, putting up 26 run stops, eight quarterback hits and 11 quarterback hurries in addition to his more traditional numbers.
Grade: A. The Vikings got a bit of a steal here. With all of their recent defensive tackles outside of Floyd in the wind, they needed a young cornerstone player who could come in immediately and excel in several ways. Now, Minnesota's front four is one of the most formidable in the league.
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