Minnesota announced Friday that they signed former Seahawks and Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Richardson's deal is a one-year, $8 million pact, worth up to $11 million in incentives, according to a source informed of the situation. ESPN was first to report the news.
Drafted No. 13 overall in 2013, Richardson went on to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors followed by a Pro Bowl selection in his second season. The former Mizzou star is widely viewed as one of the league's most talented and versatile defensive linemen.
Why, then, did he settle for a one-year deal?
After making more waves off the field than big plays on the field over the past two seasons, Richardson's market wasn't as vigorous as he expected. He averaged just 1.25 sacks and eight quarterback hits in 2016 and 2017, down from 6.5 sacks and 18 hits in 2014 and 2015.
Richardson is slated to replace veteran defensive tackle Tom Johnson alongside Pro Bowl run-stuffer Linval Joseph and the imposing edge-rushing duo of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. If venerable defensive guru Mike Zimmer can bring out Richardson's vast potential, the Vikings defensive line will rival Philadelphia's as the league's most disruptive.
Zimmer's top-ranked defense just got more intimidating.