By Kabrione Coleman
EAGAN, Minn. – An impressive unit may have gotten even better.
Dynamic returning players on Minnesota's defensive line have been joined by Sheldon Richardson this offseason.
Everson Griffen is back after he was selected to his third straight Pro Bowl, and Linval Joseph participated in his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
Danielle Hunter recently signed a contract extension, and Brian Robison is preparing for his team-leading 12th season in Minnesota.
View the best images of the Vikings defensive line throughout the entire offseason program at the TCO Performance Center.
Returning Players: DE Everson Griffen, DT Linval Joseph, DE Danielle Hunter, DE Brian Robison, DT Tashawn Bower, DT Jaleel Johnson, DE Ifeadi Odengibo, DE Stephen Weatherly
New Additions: Sheldon Richardson, David Parry, Ade Aruna, Curtis Cothran, Jalyn Holmes, Hercules Mata'fa, Jonathan Wynn
Stat from 2017: The team had 36 sacks, with players on the defensive line completing 31 out of the 36 sacks. Griffen had the highest number of sacks at 13, and Hunter finished second with 7.0 sacks.
From the Position Room: Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson is in his seventh season with the Vikings. Patterson has 36 years of coaching experience with 15 years in the NFL. He has worked alongside Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer in Dallas from 2000-2002 with the Cowboys defense, and at Weber State in 1988.
In an interview with Vikings.com, Patterson explained he takes a similar approach with every player, from those who have racked up accolades to rookies.
"I coach them all the same," Patterson said. "We start from ground zero, 'This is how you get in the stance, this is how you got out of the stance, this is what your feet do, this is what your hands do.' They give me a bad time about it, but it is always funny at the end they go 'You know, Coach, I learned something different that I didn't know before.' It is good for those older guys to hear it all over again, and then they do a great job of helping me coach up the young guys.
"This year has been really funny, because a lot of times Griff' starts coaching them before I can even get there," Patterson said. "So, I see something and I am starting to coach them up and he has already got them. When we are in individual period and those guys take their rep and they go back to the end of the line they got Linval, they got B-Rob, they got Griff, they got Danielle help coaching them up, too. That really helps, I think, in their progression of catching up faster."
Quotable: "Yeah, we could be the best. Honestly, we can be the best, but that starts now. It starts with working with one another, feeding off one another and learning how to play with one another and doing the small things. We all start at 0-0. The season starts at 0-0. Nobody's got sacks. It's all about what you do this year. We've got a long ways to go. … It all starts with the small things and figuring out how we work together. We can take the game over, but we've got to do it day in and day out."
– Griffen on being one of the best D-Line's in the league
"It's very exciting, just having enough guys to rotate in and compete, we just want to be great. Having this young talent and knowing I'm going to get the 110 percent from them, it means a lot because I try to give them my all when I'm on the field."
– Joseph on combining veterans with younger players