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Minnesota Vikings should rush to sign Ndamukong Suh

Andrew Buller-Russ

A major priority of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first offseason on the job as the Minnesota Vikings‘ general manager has been to add defenders that can help new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell implement his preferred base 3-4 front. That process has brought in many newcomers while sending out some familiar faces. One player yet to sign with a new team is Ndamukong Suh, who used to terrorize the NFC North trenches during his five seasons with the Detroit Lions.

Recently, Suh has been linked to the Las Vegas Raiders, with the defensive tackle saying it would be “cool” to play for the Silver and Black. But there’s another team who has been linked to the five-time Pro Bowl DT in recent time, that being the Minnesota Vikings.

According to Darren Wolfson, Suh’s wife, Katya, is actually from Minnesota, and the 6-foot-4, 315-pound All-Pro has spent a great amount of time in the Twin Cities over the years. While Wolfson notes his feeling that if the Raiders and Vikings both offered a fair contract, his thoughts are that the 35-year-old would opt for Vegas, no agreement has been reached. This leaves open the possibility of Suh returning to the land of the North, with a new team.

Could the family link, plus the Vikings having some mutual interest in signing the Super Bowl winner be enough to get a contract agreed to? How would Suh fit in purple?

Related: Love the Vikings? Get involved in the discussion on the Purple Pain forums

Ndamukong Suh could be the front seven’s missing piece

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Part of the process of making roster changes included parting ways with Michael Pierce, who was a hulking nose tackle in the middle of the trenches. The Vikings have since replaced him with free-agent signee Harrison Phillips from the Buffalo Bills.

Aside from Dalvin Tomlinson and Phillips, there’s still one starting spot up for grabs. The Vikings have some defensive depth, but more along the edges, not so much on the interior.

Armon Watts is expected to compete for the third starting position along the new-look Vikings defensive front, with James Lynch and Jalen Twyman expected to receive some reps as well. But Suh is a proven talent. If signed, coaches wouldn’t have to necessarily spend much time with the 12-year NFL vet, he already knows what to do on the gridiron.

As far as his specific fit, Suh’s Pro Football Focus grades have been on the decline in each of the past four seasons, but his actual production has been solid. Suh has tallied six sacks in each of the past two seasons and he’s never missed a game in his NFL career due to injury.

Even with Suh’s snap counts being on the decline (64% last season), he still offers some rotational value, with an ability to pressure quarterbacks. At his peak, Suh was arguably just as effective at stuffing the rush. He’s not going to turn back the clock in Minnesota, but he might be able to provide a few effective snaps game by game. Which might be enough as the Vikings sort through their youthful candidates to fill roles along the defensive front.

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Personally, I’m not sold on the front three the Vikings are currently set to open camp with. Signing Suh would add some additional comfort. While I’m fascinated with the competing trio of Watts, Lynch, and Twyman, they’ve never shown an ability to play at a similar level that Suh has. But just as strong of an argument could be argued they also haven’t received the opportunity yet. Still, I’m intrigued by Suh’s ceiling, even if his floor continues to fall.

If Suh doesn’t sign with the Raiders, the Vikings would be wise to bring in the seasoned, yet durable former Rookie of the Year on a one-year contract.

Worst-case scenario, Watts, or another young talent will overtake his playing time by the end of the year. Best case scenario, Suh repeats his performance, chipping in another six sacks or so while providing invaluable experience to a locker room eager to hear his pass-rushing and run-stuffing secrets.

Related: Minnesota Vikings training camp 2022: Schedule, tickets, location, and everything to know