Recently, reports have come out that the Minnesota Vikings are currently the favorites to sign All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Suh, a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro who is a Super Bowl champion and former Vikings divisional foe, would be a welcome addition to a defense that is integrating a new 3-4 defensive scheme under new coordinator Ed Donatell.
As popular as Suh may be among Vikings fans, however, there wouldn’t be much of a reason to sign the big-name defensive lineman right now. Here are a couple of reasons why the Vikings don’t need Suh on their defense.
Reason 1- The Vikings have plenty of depth at defensive tackle.
Underrated nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, free agent newcomer Harrison Phillips, and 2021 quasi-breakout guy Armon Watts are a few guys of note currently on Minnesota’s defensive line roster. There are other depth pieces of note on the defensive line as well, which include Jaylen Twyman, James Lynch, and Jonathan Bullard.
If Suh were to be signed by the Vikings, who would he be replacing? We know that Tomlinson is likely going to be serving as the primary nose tackle in Donatell’s defense, which leaves two defensive lineman spots open. Those spots are likely to be occupied by Phillips and Watts, who are both quality run defenders and can apply pressure to the QB when needed. That would leave Suh as a rotational player who is competing with Twyman, Lynch, and Bullard for a backup role.
We know that Suh is a big name player who fans are going to want to see play. Is it really worth it to bring in a big name at the expense of a young guy who keeps getting better by the year, or someone who is sticking around as a quality depth piece? At this point in the Vikings roster building, Suh is more luxury than necessity.
Reason 2 – Suh is more brand than football player at this point in his career.
Let’s be real here- Suh is a big name player on the decline. This couldn’t be more evidenced by the fact that his Pro Football Focus grade last year as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a putrid 49.4. Despite the season being extended to 17 games last year, Suh’s tackles dipped from 44 to 27. He has also not recorded more than 50 tackles in a season since 2018, despite recording 4.5 sacks or more in three of those seasons.
Outside of a few big plays, Suh’s production has also dipped slowly by the year since joining the Buccaneers in 2019. He has not made a Pro Bowl since 2016 as a member of the Miami Dolphins. At this point in his career, Suh is more brand than football player.
Reason 3 – Suh is too expensive for the Vikings.
The Vikings currently have $8.5 million in cap space, which is bottom-12 in the league. According to reports, Suh would have been a Viking by now if the two sides could reach an agreement on money.
As mentioned earlier, Suh is more brand than football player at this point in his career. Thus, he is probably not worth all of the Vikings’ remaining cap space. Obviously, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Co. realize this, but Suh does not. The more money he continues to demand from the Vikings, the less likely it is that he joins the men in purple.
Reason 4 – A Suh signing could bring unnecessary noise to a team trying to build a culture.
The Vikings have a first-year GM and head coach in Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. Obviously, this year should be more about building a culture than winning games.
When you add a big name player like Suh, that creates a lot of unnecessary noise to your team. The Vikings this year do not need said noise coming into the locker room. While Suh is certainly a good player, he is also bringing along a big personality with his good traits, and that personality at times has in the past given him a bad rep among players. We know that Suh at times can be a dirty player, and although he has mellowed out considerably in recent years, that dirty player rep still follows him around. What if Suh pulls an Anthony Barr and inadvertently injures Aaron Rodgers in Week 1? Here comes noise about how Suh is a dirty player and doesn’t belong in the league, and that creates a distraction in the locker room.
This year is about culture-building in the Twin Cities. Suh would be a giant risk that isn’t necessary for this organization right now.
Reason 5 – The Vikings need to address other areas on their roster.
In recent days, reports have leaked that the Vikings are looking into trading for a center or bringing in a new backup QB. As of right now, those two positions are inarguably more necessary than adding another defensive lineman. Unlike defensive tackle, those positions are more of a necessity than a luxury.
Let me ask you- would you rather see Garrett Bradbury continue to get hammered by opposing defensive lineman or add Suh to a loaded defensive line? If Kirk Cousins misses time due to unexpected injury or COVID, would you rather see a proven QB2 taking his spot or one of Sean Mannion and/or Kellen Mond?
I think we all know which one we would choose.
That’s all for today folks. Should the Vikings sign Ndamukong Suh? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.