The Minnesota Vikings head toward the 2013 season with a solid group of defensive lineman, but the chance for some significant turnover looms after that. Defensive ends Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen are entering the final year of their contracts, as are defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Fred Evans. So adding some depth to the unit became an offseason priority.
Many mock drafts had the Vikings taking a defensive tackle with one of the two first-round picks they initially had (23rd and 25th overall), with Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd being widely considered a top-five overall pick and a very unlikely option to say the least. But Floyd inexplicably fell, with only the perception that he has short arms being offered as a concrete reason for his plummet, and the Vikings essentially took the best player available with their first pick.
Floyd is in line to replace Williams as Minnesota’s starting three-technique defensive tackle at some point, which looks likely to be 2014 right now. But Floyd could also see time next to Williams during his rookie season, as Evans and Letroy Guion are simply not good enough to keep him off the field if all things are equal.
Saying goodbye to a perennial Pro Bowler like Williams will not be easy after the coming season, even though he has not been the same player he was in his prime over the last few seasons. But if Floyd shows up at training camp ready to prove his doubters wrong and make an immediate impact for the Vikings, the franchise should have another in a long line of top-tier defensive lineman in their midst for many years to come.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.