EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are bringing back another old friend on defense.
Minnesota announced Tuesday that it has signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who spent the 2018 season in Purple.
The addition of Richardson helps fortify a stout defensive tackles group that already features Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson up front. But while those two are primarily known as run stuffers, Richardson brings a pass-rushing element to the position.
Richardson has 31.0 career sacks in eight seasons. He had 4.5 sacks (and 16 quarterback hits) in his lone season with the Vikings in 2018. Pierce and Tomlinson have 11.5 combined career sacks in eight seasons between them.
View photos of DT Sheldon Richardson who signed with the team on June 15.
Richardson also joins a position group that features youngsters such as Armon Watts, James Lynch and Jaylen Twyman.
The 30-year-old spent the previous two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, recording 7.5 total sacks while starting 31 of 32 games.
The 13th overall pick by the Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft, Richardson spent the first four seasons of his career in New York. He played for Seattle in 2017 before having a strong 2018 season with Minnesota.
Richardson is among a handful of former defenders the Vikings have reunited with this offseason, a group that also includes cornerback Mackensie Alexander and defensive end Stephen Weatherly.
Minnesota's defense ranked fourth overall in yards per game allowed (309.7) and ninth in points allowed per game (21.3) when that trio was on the team in 2018.
The Vikings have continued to invest in restoring their defense this offseason to bounce back from its worst showing under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer in 2020. Minnesota ranked 27th in yards per game allowed (393.9) and 29th in points allowed per game (29.7).
Minnesota waived P Zach Von Rosenberg to keep the Vikings roster at the max of 90 players.