Could an already impressive defensive front get even scarier soon?
The Vikings have had "multiple conversations" with free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, according to USA Today's Tyler Dragon. The 35-year-old five-time Pro Bowler wants to continue playing and is currently exploring his options, with the Raiders also in the mix. It sounds like a return to the Buccaneers, where Suh has spent the past three years, is unlikely.
Even at 35 years old, Suh would be a very intriguing addition for the Vikings. Their primary pass rushing defensive tackle right now is Armon Watts, who is a solid player coming off a five-sack season. Adding Suh to that mix as a rotational pass rusher, particularly on third downs, could provide a big boost. A defensive front with Harrison Phillips and Dalvin Tomlinson as the run-stuffing DTs, Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith as the edge rushers, and Watts and Suh as the pass-rushing DTs would be among the league's best, on paper.
Suh's best days are obviously behind him. The Vikings wouldn't be getting the player who was the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, made five Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams (including three first-team nods) during his first seven seasons in the league, and was named to the 2010s All-Decade team. Suh's Pro Football Focus grades have declined in each of the past five seasons, reaching a career-low with a 49.4 grade last season.
Still, he has some gas left in the tank, putting up six sacks in each of the past two seasons. Suh recorded 50 pressures and a solid pass rush grade in 2020, which was just two years ago. And while Suh played a career-low 718 snaps last season, cutting his snaps down even further — which the Vikings would likely want to do — could potentially increase his per-snap productivity.
I think the fit makes a lot of sense for the Vikings. Suh likely wouldn't cost a ton at this point of the offseason, even with the name recognition and resume he'd bring to town, so they could make it work under the salary cap. Adding him to the mix up front would increase the floor and ceiling for the Vikings' defensive line in 2022. It would be similar to them signing Sheldon Richardson last summer, which worked out well (Richardson is still currently a free agent and is four years younger than Suh, for what that's worth).
When he was younger, Suh showed a lack of sportsmanship and maturity on multiple occasions, leading to substantial fines. But he's cleaned that up in the latter half of his career and would seem to be a good addition to the locker room as a respected veteran with Super Bowl experience.
Entering his 13th NFL season, Suh has 70.5 career sacks, 130 total tackles for loss, and 38 pass breakups. He spent his first five years with the Lions, three years with the Dolphins, and one year with the Rams before joining the Bucs in 2019.
Suh has a ton of experience, has been incredibly durable throughout his career, and can still get after the quarterback. With the Vikings going all in on winning this year, signing him to a one-year deal would make a lot of sense. We'll see if it happens.
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