6

Sheldon Richardson’s prove-it season with Vikings off to fast start

When the Minnesota Vikings decided to prioritize the 3-technique tackle position this offseason, they sought to find a player who can torment the quarterback following that trajectory as efficaciously as their superstar defensive ends.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

What Minnesota got with Sheldon Richardson came in the form of a 295-pound wrecking ball capable of knocking the passer off his spot and providing the defensive line with the interior push needed to constantly disrupt the QB’s rhythm.

Richardson’s signing flew under the radar in free agency because of the record-setting contract Kirk Cousins inked in Minnesota just 24 hours before the former Jets and Seahawks defensive tackle became a Viking. They got a high-end upgrade at a critical position on the NFL’s No. 1 defense at a steal of a deal — one year, $8 million. It’s a prove-it contract as he attempts to reset his market value and get back to his 2014 Pro Bowl form.6

The Vikings saw the beginnings of their return on investment against San Francisco in Week 1. Richardson’s stat line from his Minnesota debut read: 0.5 sacks, three QB hits, two run stops and a total of seven pressures, which was the most among all defensive tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

After a quiet preseason, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year showed the Vikings why they went out to get him in the first place; that he’s exactly what they needed at the 3-technique position on a defense primed to lead Minnesota to the Super Bowl

Sitting outside on a concrete ledge adjacent to the Vikings practice fields, Richardson thinks back on the makings of his explosive debut. He hasn’t taken over a game like that in awhile.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Not since, he recalls, he played the Vikings during his second season in 2014, when he racked up three sacks, four quarterback hits and three tackles for loss in the Jets’ 30-24 overtime loss.

Whether knifing his way into the backfield to stuff the run or chasing down Jimmy Garoppolo to inhibit an open-field scramble, Richardson is a big man who can move like a defensive end with loose hips, explosive power and quick twitch. A crown jewel on a star-studded defensive line, Richardson’s skill set makes him every bit the unicorn coaches are in search of year after year.