The Vikings have launched their offseason program, which means familiar Vikings such as Chad Greenway, Cordarrelle Patterson, Brian Robison and Kyle Rudolph will make their return to Winter Park. But the launch of the offseason program also marks a new beginning for some new faces to the team, such as Linval Joseph, Captain Munnerlyn and Corey Wootton. These players will begin the process of assimilating to their new team this week.
Here's a look at a few fresh faces now playing for the Vikings (you'll get to know all of them as the offseason program progresses)…
(Big) Man in the MiddleThe Vikings focused much of their free agency activity on revamping the defensive line. A key part of the effort was the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. At 6-4, 323 pounds, Joseph can be a two-gapping run-stuffer on early downs. But with an explosive first step and efficient speed-to-power pass rush moves, Joseph, who had 7.0 sacks the past two seasons with the Giants, can also be a force against the pass.
The CaptainVikings fans should be quite familiar with cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. He's been making plays for the Carolina Panthers since he entered the League in 2009, and he's made quite a few of those plays against the Vikings. In three career games against the Purple, Munnerlyn has two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 1.0 sack. That stops now, because Munnerlyn is now a member of the Vikings and he'll be making those plays for the Purple.
To add more depth to the cornerback stable, the Vikings also signed free agent cornerback Derek Cox, who had previously been with the San Diego Chargers. Cox, a 6-1, 195-pound veteran of five NFL seasons, has 55 career starts to his credit.
Not So UnfamiliarThe Vikings reached into the free agent market to reunite with Jasper Brinkley, whom they drafted in the fifth round back in 2009. Brinkley was with the Arizona Cardinals last season, but he's back with the Vikings now and will compete with Audie Cole and Michael Mauti for a spot on the depth chart.
Defensive ReinforcementsEfforts to revamp the defensive line didn't end with the re-signing of Everson Griffen and the signing of Joseph. The Vikings reached into the pockets of a division rival, grabbing former Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton, and they also signed defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who was previously with the New Orleans Saints.
Wootton, a 6-6, 270-pound defensive end, played in 45 games with 22 starts in Chicago and had his best season in 2012 when he registered 7.0 sacks. Johnson is listed at 6-3, 288 pounds, and he can play up and down the defensive line. He began his NFL career as a rookie free agent in 2006 with the Indianapolis Colts, and his career took a winding path (NFL Europa, Arena Football League, CFL) before he finally earned a roster spot with the Saints in 2011. Johnson has played in 40 games the past three seasons in New Orleans and he has seen action in all four Saints playoff games from 2011-13.
Vlad the VikingThe Vikings free agency work in the trenches was not exclusively focused on the defensive side. The offensive line got a boost, too, with the signing of former New York Jets guard Vladimir Ducasse. Measuring in at 6-5, 325-pounds, Ducasse will be just 26 when the 2014 season starts and he is entering his fifth NFL season. He has played in all 16 games the past three seasons with five starts, including four last year.
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