Vikings Sign Journeyman Defensive End Anthony Zettel
The Vikings have signed journeyman defensive end Anthony Zettel, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon. The 27-year-old has spent time with the Lions, Browns, Bengals, and 49ers during his four-year NFL career.
Zettel was drafted by the Lions in the sixth round in 2016 after recording 20 sacks, 18 non-sack tackles for loss, and four interceptions in his four-year career at Penn State. He played sparingly as a rookie, recording one sack and 13 tackles.
In 2017, Zettel started all 16 games for the Lions. He played well, with 6.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 4.5 non-sack TFLs, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Zettel played his best ball against the Vikings; in two games, he put up 2.5 sacks, eight QB hits, and a fumble recovery. For the season, Zettel was given a solid 70.7 grade by Pro Football Focus.
Unfortunately, his career has gown downhill since that year. Zettel was waived by the Lions in September 2018, and spent that season with the Browns, playing 15 games in a reserve role. He bounced between the Browns, Bengals, and 49ers last season. Zettel only played on special teams during the 49ers' run to the Super Bowl.
This is a low-risk, reclamation project type of signing for the Vikings. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Zettel adds some depth to a defensive end group that lost Stephen Weatherly and Everson Griffen this offseason. Ifeadi Odenigbo remains the projected starter across from Danielle Hunter, but Zettel could push for a rotational role if he impresses.
The Vikings can also look to take a pass-rusher in the draft. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN has them taking Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa in the first round, though that seems like it goes against the Vikings' traditional approach.
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