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Richardson Wants to be 'Disruptive' on Vikings Defensive Line

Posted Mar 16, 2018

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings added even more star power to an already stacked defensive line Friday afternoon by signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to a one-year deal.

Richardson said he’s ready to get to work in Minnesota.

“Right now, it’s all on paper,” Richardson said. “I know what they can bring to the table, I just came to add in to it and be disruptive, help this team get the ultimate goal.”

Richardson joins a Vikings defense that ranked first in both points and yards allowed per game in 2017, and was second overall in stopping the run.

Richardson said the chance to work with Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson along with Pro Bowlers Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph made him jump at the chance to join the Vikings.

“A haul, that man works,” Richardson said of Joseph. “The whole defensive line works. Coach Dre definitely, definitely gets those guys ready week-in and week-out.

“I do feel like [Patterson] can take me to the next level and redefine my hands and make those pressures turn into sacks,” Richardson added. “Basically, staying stout in the run and doing my job. Nothing more, nothing less, no better than the next man.”

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Head Coach Mike Zimmer was looking for a guy “that has very quick [muscle] twitch off the snap, that can play with heavy hands, but also can penetrate.”

“We watched all his tape,” Spielman continued, “there are things that we feel technically, because of our coaching staff … that can even take him to another level because of not only his natural power, but the quick twitch we look for at that position.”

Spielman later said: “I’m excited to look and see who’s going to get to the ball first next year with the athletes we have up front.”

Richardson spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets before being traded to Seattle just before the start of the 2017 season.

Richardson was in a 3-4 front with the Jets and recorded 3.0 sacks against the Vikings, including a safety, in 2014 en route to the Pro Bowl. In Seattle, he played the 3-technique in a 4-3 front and had one sack this past season, but Zimmer said he still made an impact by pressuring the quarterback.

“Sheldon was a guy who has been and even was this past season, one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL in order to get the quarterback off the spot,” Zimmer said. “He didn’t have a lot of sacks, but as I’ve said before, sacks are not our number one goal. It’s about disrupting the quarterback and getting him off his spot and getting him off timing.”

Richardson, who has 19 career sacks, said he has plenty of motivation entering the 2018 season.

“[I] didn’t finish enough at the quarterback, I got back there a lot, disruptive as Coach Zimmer said,” Richardson noted about his 2017 season. “Honestly, just not finishing for me, in my book, with my standards, that’s how I feel about it.

“I’m very effective around the quarterback,” he added. “I just don’t have the vanity and the numbers that people want to see.”

Richardson said it was hard to pass up the combination of training at TCO Performance Center and suiting up on Sundays at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“It’s the best building in the league,” Richardson quipped. “Have you seen the building? Like seriously, have you seen the building? It’s pretty nice, ain’t it? Smells like new paint, don’t it?

Brand new, everything around here is top-notch, state-of-the-art,” Richardson added. “It’s all good, the stadium was good, just left there this morning. Beautiful stadium, I see myself making a lot of plays in there.”

Spielman said the Vikings didn’t have to stall Richardson to keep him in the building and delay a visit to another team.

Instead, they sold him on the chance to join one of the league’s top defenses and improve his craft even more.

“One of the things we talked about is, if you put yourself in the right situation with the right team and the right coaches, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be in the Pro Bowl year-in and year-out,” Spielman said. “He definitely has the physical ability to do that.

“After visiting with him over the last two days, we believe that he’s going to be able to accomplish that as long as he listens to the coaches and does what he does,” Spielman added. “But there’s no question about the passion for the game and how hard he plays.”

Added Richardson: “Got to get through OTAs. Got to learn the playbook. Got to accustomed to my teammates that I’m with now. I’m glad to be here.”