The Minnesota Vikings are loaded salary cap wise this off-season and I fully expect them to make some good moves that will bring back a winning atmosphere.
In 2009, the Vikings had a stellar and young defensive line that helped them earn a spot in the NFC Championship game. For the last few seasons the line has struggled and is aging quickly.
The Vikings should make it a mission to bring younger guys in on the line. To make that happen, the Vikings should sign DE Michael Johnson and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson right away.
Josh Kirkendall of the Dayton Daily News ranks Johnson as the second-best free agent in the NFL. At 27, Johnson is still fairly young and pretty talented. He played under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer when Zimmer was defensive coordinator for the Bengals. Johnson had a big year in 2012 recording 11.5 sacks and became a star under Zimmer. If any team has a shot to sign Johnson besides the Bengals it’d be the Vikings because of his ties to Zimmer.
Plus, Johnson would have the opportunity to become the best player on a struggling defensive line and become a new scary edition to the NFC North on defense. It is unlikely that DE Jared Allen will return to the Vikings next season. At 32, Allen is looking to win a Superbowl and the Vikings aren’t quite there yet.
The Vikings should be able to meet Johnson’s needs salary wise and I wouldn’t be shocked if we see this guy in purple next season.
At 30, Jackson would also be a great fit at linebacker for Minnesota. Jackson would fit nicely with middle linebacker Chad Greenway, plus he led the Cleveland Browns in tackles last season and has close ties to offensive coordinator Norv Turner who held the same position with Cleveland last season.
Jackson was recently released by Cleveland so this gives the Vikings an upper hand on signing him.
It’d be nice to see the Vikings bolster their defense up a bit for next season. Signing Johnson and Jackson would be a good start, but the front office has a lot of other holes to fill before the Vikings will be contenders again in the NFC.