No one will argue Linval Joseph was the catalyst to flipping a league-worst 32nd ranked defense into the NFL’s number one statistical unit under Mike Zimmer. After three surgeries in two seasons and nearing 32 years old, Joseph’s play slipped off drastically over the past season and a half, and the Vikings rushing defense slipped off as well because of it.
The drop off in play forced the Vikings’ front office to move on from Joseph. In return, the Vikings plucked Michael Pierce of the Baltimore Ravens, who quietly has turned into one of the better nose tackles in the league thanks to his stout run stopping ability at 345 pounds. According to PFF, Pierce has been performed in the past like one of the top five nose tackles in the league, helping the Vikings upgrade at the position while actually saving several million dollars from Joseph’s contract.
Watch the full film breakdown as we go in depth on the transition from Joseph to Pierce and the impact it will make on players like Eric Kendricks and enhance Mike Zimmer’s play-calling possibilities, specifically on early downs as a run-stuffing nose tackle.