The Vikings brought in another free agent Thursday while finalizing Kirk Cousins’ contract.
Ex-Jets and Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson visited the Vikings, according to a league source, as they try to determine if Richardson could help fill their opening at three-technique tackle. He was a defensive end in the Jets’ 3-4 scheme when he won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 and only shifted to defensive tackle last year, but if the Vikings can work out a deal with him, he’d provide some interior pass rushing help.
Richardson, however, is not without baggage. He was suspended for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2015, and was arrested in Florida two weeks later, after driving in excess of 140 mph while street racing. At the time of the arrest, police reportedly found a loaded handgun in the car, which smelled strongly of marijuana, though no drug or gun charges were filed after Richardson’s arrest. He was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest, and was suspended for one game for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
It remains to be seen how much money Richardson will want, and whether the Vikings will be able to afford him after signing Cousins, but the team is at least considering the possibility of adding the former Pro Bowler to its roster.
The Vikings have plenty to address after the big move to sign Cousins. General Manager Rick Spielman let 15 unrestricted free agents hit the open market while focusing intently on signing Cousins, the next franchise quarterback.
Attention has turned to the current roster. Friday’s deadline will determine whether the Vikings keep running back Latavius Murray, who has $5.15 million guaranteed if he’s on the roster by the end of the day. The Vikings want to cut his pay, a league source told the Star Tribune, and were working toward that goal Thursday.
“I got a lot of work to do,” Spielman said after introducing Cousins.
Siemian deal finalized
The Vikings also officially have their new backup quarterback in the fold. The trade with the Broncos for quarterback Trevor Siemian was finalized Thursday on the league’s transaction wire. The Vikings get Siemian and a seventh-round pick (No. 225) in the upcoming draft for a 2019 fifth-round pick sent to Denver.
Siemian, 26, will transition into a backup role after serving as the Broncos’ on-and-off starter since being drafted in 2015’s seventh round out of Northwestern.
“I love the fact that there’s someone else in the quarterback room who will have been in the fire and have played,” Cousins said.