While adding Kirk Cousins is nice, the signing of Sheldon Richardson may probably be more pivotal for the Minnesota Vikings to bolster what is already a scary defense.
oach Mike Zimmer pointed out that in the last four or five games, their team defense has been slipping. One reason for this is the many injuries that messed up the defensive rotation. He’s also faced with so many questions like possibly overplaying 33-year-old defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who reportedly participated in 70% of the defensive snaps.
Now, they are getting Richardson, widely considered as the top defensive tackle in free agency.
Johnson, meanwhile, will be heading to the Seattle Seahawks so Richardson will be paired with Linval Joseph.
“Sheldon was a guy that has been, and even was this last past season, one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL in order to get the quarterback off the spot,” the coach told ESPN.
His defensive impact is deceiving considering that he doesn’t record a high number of sacks.
“As I’ve said before, sacks are not our No. 1 goal,” Zimmer added. “It’s about disrupting the quarterback and getting him off his spot and getting him off timing.”
Zimmer said that they evaluated all the free agents and Richardson checked all the boxes because he has the quickness in addition to his strength and size. Like Joseph, they believe that the 27-year-old will thrive in their system.
Richardson’s talent is really disrupting the opposing quarterback. Zimmer said they can help him with the pass rush and all the little things under the watchful eye of defensive line coach Andre Patterson.
“I think there are some things we can teach him to try and make him continue to get better,” he said. But the biggest thing is he has all the traits we’re looking for. He has quickness. He can run. He has strength.”