With no lineman emerging among their four-man rotation, the Vikings are looking for more competition and depth, adding ex-Bears defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson to the team’s practice squad on Sept. 21.
Anderson, 24, was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018 and worked his way into the Bears lineup, playing six games in 2019. He joins second-year defensive tackle Albert Huggins on the practice squad as both young players will look to continue to practice and make a case to be activated to the 53-man roster.
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Vikings Offseason Loses Not Solved
Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson vehemently defended the performance of six-year veteran Shamar Stephen and fourth-year defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson this offseason by clarifying their roles as defensive linemen.
Here’s what he said:
I think Eric Kendricks will tell you that part of the reason he went to the Pro Bowl is because of those two big bodies sitting in front of him, OK? They allow him to run from sideline to sideline and be free. Their No. 1 job in their life is to not let anybody touch Eric (Kendricks). And I get it. People write stuff about Shamar Stephen and I get it because everybody just looks at stats, but if you watch film and you ask Eric Kendricks if he had to pick anybody to go to the game with, that he’d make sure that guy was there, I guarantee he’d tell you it’s 93, because 93 is not going to let anybody get to the second level and block Eric (Kendricks). They’re doing what we coach them to do.
We want to flatten out the line of scrimmage — don’t let any lineman leave the line of scrimmage — the inside guys will let Eric (Kendricks) free,” Patterson said. “That’s why that position… is so important because we want to keep those linebackers free. Eric (Kendricks)and Anthony Barr can make plays because of the way those two D-tackles play.
But after giving up 151 rushing yards to the Colts last week, it’s clear that Stephen nor Johnson are solutions to stopping the run in the stead of longtime gap-eater Linval Joseph and his preemptive replacement in Pierce.
Abdullah Not Fitting the Frame
Standing 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Abdullah is a classic hybrid lineman, which the Vikings have aplenty. He had two tackles and two pressures against the Vikings last season, which likely impressed the Vikings coaching staff.
The Vikings are likely to take it slow before making any drastic moves and giving their developmental pieces more playing time but without a true nose tackle, Abdullah is added to a long line of three-technique linemen.
A true nose tackle is missing from the Vikings roster, although there are still options available in free agency the Vikings could entertain.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.