The Minnesota Vikings are mining their own division to restock the cupboard of a defense being remade in the image of new coordinator Brian Flores.
Former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry signed a new deal to join the Vikings front-seven on Friday, March 17. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the news via Twitter.
“#Vikings sign Dean Lowry away from Packers on two-year, $8.5 million deal,” Tomasson wrote. “He arrives after Minnesota earlier this week lost Dalvin Tomlinson as a free agent to Cleveland.”
Lowry Poor Man’s Replacement For Tomlinson on Vikings Defense, But Cheaper
Lowry isn’t a precise replacement for Tomlinson, as the two technically play different positions. Tomlinson was a run-stopping defensive tackle while Lowry spent his time with the Packers playing defensive end in their 3-4 scheme.
However, Pro Football Focus (PFF) categorizes both as defensive interior players considering Lowry ceded edge-rushing responsibilities to outside linebackers in Green Bay and is likely to do the same in Minnesota.
While Lowry will be filling Tomlinson’s shoes for the Vikings, the two are not the same caliber of player. PFF graded Lowry out at 59.3 overall at the position, while Tomlinson earned a 77.1 grade in 2022. Tomlinson was a considerably better run-stopper and a vastly superior pass rusher based on PFF’s assessments, though Lowry will come much cheaper over the next couple of seasons.
Tomlinson will earn $20 million more than Lowry over the next two years, after the former signed a four-year contract worth $57 million to join the Cleveland Browns earlier this week. Lowry had something of a down season last year, but analytics experts on Friday hailed the deal for the Vikings considering the lineman’s productivity two seasons past.
“Lowry was really productive in 2021, generating 42 QB pressures and five sacks, with his 10.3% pressure rate 15th among interior defenders,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger tweeted. “Good get for Brian Flores in Minnesota.”
Lowry Joins Marcus Davenport as 2023 Additions to Vikings Defensive Front
Lowry isn’t the only new member of the Vikings front seven to ink a contract this week. Pass rusher Marcus Davenport, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, made his one-year contract official on Friday after a hiccup earlier in the week.
Minnesota announced they had agreed to terms with Davenport on Monday, intending to add the edge defender on a $13 million deal in 2023. However, Davenport was not part of a Thursday press conference that introduced new cornerback Byron Murphy and new tight end Josh Oliver. The media event was pushed back 45 minutes without an explicit explanation as to why, leading to some speculation that there might be issues with Davenport’s contract.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweeted about the developments on March 16.
“While the #Vikings introduced Byron Murphy and Josh Oliver at press conference today, I’m told they’re still working on contract details with Marcus Davenport, who was in Minnesota today but has not officially signed yet,” Goessling reported.
Whatever the holdup was between Davenport and the Vikings, it was cleared up by Friday when Alec Lewis of The Athletic reported that the signing of the contract was imminent.
“The Vikings’ deal with Marcus Davenport is officially done, a source told The Athletic,” Lewis tweeted. “Awaiting final signatures.”