The Minnesota Vikings have a unique situation with their core group of defensive lineman, with Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and Fred Evans all entering the final year of their contracts. Time will tell which of the group is back for 2014, but it’s considered fairly certain that Williams and Allen will not be in Minnesota past this season.
Evans has been a rotational player throughout his seven NFL seasons, including the last six with the Vikings, and that held true in 2012 as he only started one game and played far fewer snaps (357-29.8 percent) than fellow nose tackle Letroy Guion (525-43.8 percent). With good athleticism for a player his size (6’4″, 305 pounds), it’s worth wondering what kind of impact Evans could have with an expanded role.
Head coach Leslie Frazier said during OTAs in May that Evans, on the heels of his solid play late last season and a nudge from other coaches, would get a chance to unseat Guion as Minnesota’s starting nose tackle. That held true during those team practice sessions, with Evans on the field for the first defensive snap on both occasions, and may carry into this week’s voluntary work as well. Guion will certainly still be in the mix, and rookie Sharrif Floyd may also get some time next to Williams during training camp.
Evans’ hold on a roster spot for 2013 is strong, the only question is his ultimate role. How he looks during training camp and preseason games will be key as he competes directly with Guion for a starting job, but there’s good reason to believe Evans will see more action this season regardless of his official status on the depth chart entering Week 1.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.