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Vikings look to improve run defense by signing Dalvin Tomlinson away from Giants

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) reacts after sacking Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings spent much of Monday watching free agents they were pursuing elect to go elsewhere. But that shutout streak ended Monday night — the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period — when defensive tackle tackle Dalvin Tomlinson agreed to a two-year, $22 million contract with the Vikings, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Vikings also agreed to terms with linebacker Nick Vigil on a one-year deal that includes $1 million in guarantees, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Vigil was a third-round pick of the Bengals in 2016 and played in 15 games with two starts with the Los Angeles Chargers last season. He had a career-high two sacks and two fumble recoveries with 50 tackles and three tackles for a loss. Vigil could compete to replace Eric Wilson, who is expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

The Giants wanted to keep Tomlinson, a second-round pick in the 2017 draft, but already are working to retain defensive tackle Leonard Williams. Williams and the Giants are in talks on a long-term agreement after New York placed the franchise tag on him this month.

Tomlinson, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 318 pounds, will help to give the Vikings a run-stuffing presence in the middle. As Rapoport points out, the Vikings made a similar move in 2014 when they signed Linval Joseph as a free agent from the Giants. Joseph received a five-year, $31.5 million deal as the first free agent signed for then-new coach Mike Zimmer.

Tomlinson played both nose tackle and 3-technique with the Giants and is expected to play the latter in Minnesota. The Vikings big free agent signing a year ago was Baltimore nose tackle Michael Pierce, who agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract. Pierce did not play last season after opting out because of health concerns related to COVID-19.

Tomlinson was rated 25th out of 138 NFL defensive tackles in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus, and was 29th in pressures among players at that position. Tomlinson did not miss a start with the Giants in his first four NFL seasons and had eight sacks in 64 games, including 3.5 each of the past two seasons. He also had 21 tackles for a loss and 20 quarterback hits.

Tomlinson and Pierce will be expected to provide a boost to a Vikings run defense that gave up 134.4 yards per game and finished 27th in the NFL.

Free agents could agree to deals beginning Monday but can’t sign until the NFL’s new league year begins at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.