The Vikings did not waste any time as the NFL’s legal tampering period kicked off on Monday morning. The team immediately pursued at least three players, including guard Joe Thuney (New England), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (Seattle) and defensive end Carl Lawson (Cincinnati).
The Vikings were believed to have made offers to Griffin and Lawson, while examining how the market for Thuney was playing out. Thuney is the top free agent guard and could end up landing with a team that has more salary cap space than the Vikings.
Lawson isn’t the only defensive end the Vikings are pursuing.
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Griffin, who played in 12 games for the Seahawks last season, could pair with Cam Dantzler as a starting outside cornerback in Minnesota, enabling Jeff Gladney to play full time inside in the nickel. Mike Hughes, the Vikings’ first-round pick in 2018, has battled neck injuries the past two seasons and played in only four games last season.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, meanwhile, wants to pair Lawson with Danielle Hunter as bookends at defensive end for a team that had only 23 sacks last season. Hunter missed the season after having surgery to repair a herniated disc. Lawson had 5.5 sacks in 16 games for the Bengals last season and has 20 sacks in four seasons, including a career-high 8.5 as a rookie.
A fourth-round pick in 2017 by the Bengals, Lawson would be a good fit for Zimmer’s defense. General manager Rick Spielman also likes to land players entering their second contract, making the 25-year-old a good fit in that sense.
While there already is plenty of action around the NFL, players can’t be signed until the league year opens at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.