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5 Things to Know About New Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson

Posted Mar 16, 2018

The Vikings announced Friday that they have signed free agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Richardson’s signing followed the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins to the roster on Thursday.

The defensive tackle spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets before playing for the Seahawks last season. In 2017, he started all 15 games he played and recorded 44 tackles (27 solo), 1.0 sack, one pass defensed, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Richardson also snagged his first career interception against the Rams in Week 5.

Here are five things to know about Richardson:

1. Early NFL success

Richardson was selected 13th overall by the Jets in 2013, and he made a smooth transition into the pros.

Playing all 16 games – and starting 15 of them – as a rookie, Richardson recorded 77 tackles (42 solo) and 3.5 sacks. He also added a pass defensed and forced fumble en route to earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

In 2014, Richardson started all 16 games and tallied 66 tackles (42 solo), a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also racked up an impressive 8.0 sacks, including one of then-Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater in the end zone for a safety in Week 13. For his performance that season, Richardson received his first career Pro Bowl nod.

2. A terrific Tiger

Richardson started his college career at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, but transferred to the University of Missouri to play two seasons before entering the NFL Draft.

During the 2012 season, Richardson finished second on the team with 75 tackles, which led all defensive tackles in the Southeastern Conference. He also recorded 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, three passes broken up, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery that he returned 60 yards.

Richardson was teammates with linebacker Kentrell Brothers, whom the Vikings drafted in 2016.

3. Combine competitor

Richardson participated in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he tied for fifth-best among defensive linemen in the bench press (30 reps of 225 pounds) and also was a top performer for his position group in the broad jump, reaching a distance of 9 feet, 8 inches.

Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock ranked Richardson as the second-best defensive tackle in the class behind Sharrif Floyd, whom the Vikings drafted 23rd overall that year.

4. St. Louis native

Transferring to Missouri meant returning home for Richardson, who was born and raised in St. Louis.

Richardson currently is the only Missouri native on the Vikings roster.  

5. Gateway to the gridiron

Richardson attended Gateway STEM High School (St. Louis), which places a strong focus mathematics and sciences with career preparation in highly technical fields.

Richardson played on both sides of the ball in high school. He garnered attention after notching 19 sacks and six defensive touchdowns, and he added 27 catches for 541 yards and eight touchdowns as a tight end.

Former Chargers running back Sam Scarber also was a graduate of Gateway.