Linval Joseph

Vikings Notes: Joseph, Griffen, Spielman

The Vikings have shifted their approach to the salary cap in order to preserve their core,’s Kevin Seifert writes. Like most teams, the Vikings previously refused to extend players when they had more than one year to go on a deal. This year, they actually went to defensive end Everson Griffen and nose tackle Linval Joseph with early offers.

By changing up their philosophy, the Vikings got cost certainty on two key defensive linemen who were poised to eventually cash in on the open market. Meanwhile, Joseph was happy to trade in some potential financial upside for security.

This game doesn’t last forever, at the end of the day,” Joseph said. “It was a great opportunity. I felt like I had outplayed my contract. For the Vikings to come to me and try to get something done, I was happy with that.”

Here’s more from Minnesota:

  • We have details on Joseph’s four-year, $50MM extension, via Mike Florio of PFT. The deal gives Joseph $11.15MM fully guaranteed at signing with $31.5MM guaranteed for injury at signing. The cash flow of the deal (including the previously standing seasons) has Joseph making $26.9MM through 2019, $38.65MM through 2020, $49.9MM through 2021, and $62.4MM through 2022. In terms of “new money” – which is always a tricky metric – Joseph’s $12.5MM annual average makes him the league’s eighth highest-paid defensive tackle.
  • More teams should look into extending contracts ahead of time like the Vikings did, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. Meanwhile, he feels that players and agents should be demanding more in scenarios like this. In the case of Joseph, he went from being virtually assured $15.5MM in 2017 and 2018 to getting $19MM, with $15MM of that being fully guaranteed. In essence, Joseph traded in his chance at a free agency payday for a $3.5MM pay bump and no significant guarantees for when the extension actually kicks in.
  • Linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter, and wide receiver Stefon Diggs could be next in line for deals since they have 19 months remaining on their current deals, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune writes. Linebacker Anthony Barr could also be in line for a new deal after the 2018 season, depending on what happens with his $12.3MM fifth-year option. Vikings GM Rick Spielman won’t get into specifics, but it sounds like more extensions could be on the way. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us. There are still some guys that we will be looking at to extend,” Spielman said Sunday. “I don’t know when or where those will take place, but we do have a strategic plan in place.”

Vikings, Linval Joseph Agree To Extension

The Vikings have once again extended a key member of their defense. According to’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the organization has signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph to a four-year, $50MM extension. The deal reportedly contains $31.5MM in guaranteed money.

Linval JosephFollowing the team’s signing of defensive end Everson Griffen and cornerback Xavier Rhodes to extensions, we heard that Joseph was next of the docket. The Pro Bowler was reportedly seeking similar money to Griffen’s four-year, $57.9MM extension, and he came up just short with his current deal. Either way, Joseph still earned himself quite the payday, as the guaranteed money will only rank him behind Ndamukong Suh, Marcell Dareus, Fletcher Cox, Kawann Short among defensive tackles.

The 2010 second-round pick has established himself as one of the linchpins of the Vikings defense over the past several years. 2016 was arguably the best season of the 28-year-old’s career, as Joseph compiled career-highs in tackles (77), sacks (four), and forced fumbles (three). Pro Football Focus was particularly fond of his performance, ranking him 14th among 125 qualified interior defensive linemen.

As our own Connor Byrnes noted earlier this week, the Vikings shouldn’t have been in any rush to sign the defensive tackle. Prior to signing this contract, Joseph still had two seasons remaining on the five-year, $31.25 million contract he signed back in 2014. Still, the organization has clearly prioritized locking up their core. Besides signing both Rhodes and Griffen to extensions, the team also extended safety Harrison Smith last offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Talks Between Vikes, Linval Joseph “Ongoing”

The Vikings handed lucrative contract extensions to a pair of defensive linchpins in end Everson Griffen and cornerback Xavier Rhodes last week. Next on the docket is nose tackle Linval Joseph, who has talked about an extension with the team, reports Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Discussions between the two sides are “ongoing,” per Tomasson, who adds that Joseph wants a deal similar to the four-year, $57.9MM accord the Vikings gave Griffen.


A Griffen-esque payday for Joseph would make him the seventh D-tackle to secure a contract worth upward of $14MM per year, notes Tomasson. Such a deal would put Joseph in company with Ndamukong Suh, Fletcher Cox, Kawann Short, Marcell Dareus, Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson. Joseph hasn’t posted the lofty sack numbers of anyone in that sextet, having tallied 16.5 during his seven-year career, though he did tie a personal best with four last season. The adept run-stuffer also piled up 77 tackles and three forced fumbles during a 16-start 2016, the third such season of his career, and ranked an excellent 14th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 125 qualified interior defensive linemen.

As great as Joseph has been for the Vikings since they signed the ex-Giant as a free agent prior to the 2014 season, inking him to a new deal isn’t something they absolutely have to do right now. Joseph, 28, still has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $31.25 million contract, and he doesn’t seem to regard securing an extension as a must.

“Whatever happens, happens,’’ Joseph told Tomasson. “If it’s time, it’s time (to get an extension). If not, I’m going to keep grinding.’’

In the event Minnesota does lock up Joseph soon, it’ll be the fourth time the franchise has awarded a big-money deal to a defender in the past year-plus. In June 2016, well before Griffen and Rhodes got their contracts, the Vikings extended safety Harrison Smith. Those three and Joseph are part of an enviable core of defenders that helped Minnesota’s ‘D’ finish toward the top of the NFL in yardage (third), scoring (sixth) and DVOA (eighth) in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings, Xavier Rhodes Close On Extension

The Vikings are close to finalizing an extension with cornerback Xavier Rhodes, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

A source informed Tomasson the deal is expected to be in the five-year, $70MM vicinity. That would tie Rhodes to the Vikings through the 2022 season. The cornerback is set to make just more than $8MM on a fifth-year option this season.

We heard earlier this week the Vikings made a “nice offer” to the 27-year-old cornerback, who is entering his contract year. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported the team is willing to make him one of the league’s highest-paid corners.

An assistant coach at Florida State during Rhodes’ time there and a former NFL corner, Terrell Buckley serves as a mentor to Rhodes. He told Tomasson there was a “high probability” Rhodes will sign an extension by the end of the week but is attempting to get a couple of things “squared away” with this Vikes proposal. Buckley added Rhodes “loves” playing for Mike Zimmer and secondary coach Jerry Gray, further pointing to a long Rhodes stay in Minneapolis.

At $14MM annually, that would match Rhodes with Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson as the third-highest-paid corner. Only Josh Norman makes more than that annually, although Trumaine Johnson‘s franchise tag ($16.742MM) has him as the league’s highest-paid corner for 2017.

In addition to Rhodes, the Vikings want to lock down key members of their defense, Tomasson reports. They are internally discussing extensions for Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Linval Joseph, per Tomasson. The team just signed Everson Griffen to a $57.9MM extension.

The Vikings rode their defense to a dominant start in 2016, jumping out to a 5-0 mark. Minnesota finished third defensively last season. Barr became extension-eligible after last season, but Kendricks — as a 2015 second-round pick — isn’t yet allowed to sign one until after this season. Joseph has delivered dominant football to the Vikings after they signed him as a UFA from the Giants. He has two years remaining on the five-year, $31.25MM deal he signed in 2014. Joseph is set to make $6.85MM in each of the next two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Kuhn, Vikings, Lawson

The Packers have discussed bringing back fullback John Kuhn but haven’t decided to keep their longtime backfield blocker in the fold as of yet, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Kuhn’s agent, Kevin Gold, has talked with the Packers and other teams about the three-time Pro Bowl fullback, but Silverstein reports no decision is imminent on the eve of Green Bay’s start to its offseason program.

The 33-year-old Kuhn has played 156 games for the Packers, suiting up in green and gold for 10 of his 11 years in the league. Kuhn played ahead of 2015 sixth-rounder Aaron Ripkowski last season and made his third Pro Bowl. The Packers, who are also expected to sign Don Barclay on Monday, have $10.6MM in cap space currently.

A Division II product, Kuhn has been in this situation in recent years. Despite Kuhn being the fullback on the 2014 All-Pro first team, the Packers were able to re-sign him for the league minimum last April after agreeing to a similar one-year pact in advance of the ’14 season. Kuhn played in 23.4% of the offensive snaps last season, per Silverstein.

Here’s the latest coming out of the Packers’ top rivals’ camps.

  • This season will almost certainly be Chad Greenway‘s Vikings farewell tour, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The 33-year-old outside linebacker signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal (with $750K guaranteed) to remain in Minnesota for an 11th season recently. “I have sort of that direction that, yeah, I want to walk away a Minnesota Viking in sort of on my own terms,” Greenway told media Sunday, including Tomasson. “Few NFL players get to do that and have the opportunity to do that. This organization and my career has allowed me to do that and kind of be in the situation.” Greenway has started 140 regular-season and playoff games with the Vikings since being taken by the team in Round 1 of the 2006 draft. He remains the favorite to start alongside Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks this season.
  • Linval Joseph has nearly recovered fully from the turf toe that shelved the emerging defensive tackle late last season, Ben Goessling of tweets. Pro Football Focus’ best interior defender not named Aaron Donald or J.J. Watt, Joseph missed four Vikings games with the malady last season.
  • The Vikings do not expect Adrian Peterson to attend the start of voluntary portion of their offseason workouts Monday, Tomasson reports. Peterson has been training near his home in Houston and rarely shows for the start of these gatherings.
  • Shaq Lawson drew a lofty comparison during his Lions workout, according to Chase Goodbread of (on Twitter). During one drill, Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek told the former Clemson pass-rusher during an explosiveness drill he’d only seen one player flash more during that particular drill, 2014 No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Lawson accumulated 45.5 tackles for loss in his three years at Clemson, 24.5 last season — his only as a starter.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Joseph, Packers

Jimmy Clausen looked better than Jordan Palmer in the Bears’ first preseason game versus Philadelphia, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Clausen had a 73-yard scoring strike and showed encouraging command for a signal caller who only has two months worth of exposure to a new system. Biggs’ “10 thoughts” on the game is full of information:

  • Suspended tight end Martellus Bennett was not with the team, and head coach Marc Trestman did not have any news about Bennett’s return. Biggs says that while the suspension is “indefinite,” the CBA states a ‘conduct detrimental to the team’ suspension can only last four weeks. Additionally, Bennett can only be fined up to one week’s pay, which would be approximately $282k. “A logical return date would be at training camp Sunday, when the team gets on the field again,” speculates Biggs.
  • Chris Williams, who the Bears plucked off the Saints practice squad, showed legitimate speed in beating the Eagles’ secondary for a 73-yard touchdown, but he suffered a mild hamstring pull and did not get the chance to return kicks, presumably the reason the Bears got him.
  • Second-year right tackle Jordan Mills has been sidelined with a sore left foot (the same foot he had surgery on in January), but X-rays showed no structural damage.
  • For years the Bears’ special teams were the envy of the league under the command of Dave Taub (now in Kansas City), but the unit fell off last year under Joe DeCamillis, and Friday night was inauspicious to say the least, as the Bears had a field goal blocked, yielded a kick return score, were inconsistent punting and were called for multiple penalties.
  • Defensive end Trevor Scott, a darkhorse roster candidate, played well. Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic did not.

Here’s some more NFC North notes:

  • With Bennett suspended, Zach Miller raised eyebrows with six catches for 68 yards and a pair of scores, writes ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. Miller’s career was derailed by injuries, but when healthy, he’s a capable receiving tight end. He’s on a one-year, $645k deal with the Bears.
  • In a team-issued release, the Vikings say nose tackle Linval Joseph‘s calf was struck by a bullett during a Minneapolis nightclub shooting last night. The team says Joseph was an innocent bystander, was treated and released from the hospital and will return to the team next week.
  • Former Bear Julius Peppers hasn’t made a splash yet in Packers camp, and ESPN’s Rob Demovsky wonders if the veteran is pacing himself or if there’s just not much left in the tank.
  • Myles White and Kevin Dorsey are the top candidates for the Packers’ fifth receiver job, says Robert Zizzo of the Press-Gazette.

Extra Points: Davis, Hankins, Vernon, Brown

Vernon Davis sounds resigned as if he’ll report to 49ers training camp in 26 days without a new contract,” writes Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, and the tight end does not sound stressed about it.

Here’s more lunchtime links:

  • Giants 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins came on strong down the stretch last season and is poised to inherit the nose tackle position vacated by Linval Joseph, who signed a free-agent deal with the Vikings, writes’s Jordan Raanan.
  • Eagles defensive end Cedric Thornton was terrific against the run last season, but he’s making a concerted effort to improve his hand use and pass-rushing ability. In a story by’s Geoff Mosher, Thornton says part of his motivation came from his wife telling him, “You only had one sack.”
  • Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon‘s stock is on the rise, says ESPN’s James Walker: “The former third-round pick exploded on the scene and led the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks…Vernon had another strong offseason, capped by his 2 1/2 sacks in Miami’s team scrimmage last week. Not only that, Vernon beat Dolphins Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert for two of his sacks…Vernon looks poised to hold onto his starting job and keep former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan on the bench.”
  • Tarell Brown‘s one-year, $3.5MM deal is the Raiders’ best contract, while Sebastian Janikowski‘s four-year, $15.1MM deal — which “ranks in the top 10 of the Raiders annual salary structure, top 3 in total value for the team among veterans, and first overall among kickers in the NFL” — is the worst, in the opinion of’s Jason Fitzgerald.
  • Chiefs injury plagued tight end Tony Moeaki is on the bubble, explains ESPN’s Mike Rodak.
  • Same goes for Jaguars safety Josh Evans, thinks ESPN’s Michael DiRocco: “Evans will have to prove early in camp that he’s completely healthy and is more consistent than he was as a rookie. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose reps and could end up being the first David Caldwell draft pick who gets cut.”

Vikings Sign Linval Joseph

WEDNESDAY, 10:10pm: More details from Joseph’s contracts, via tweets from Ben Goessling of $6.6MM cap number in 2014, $4.6MM in 2015, $6.3MM in 2016, $6.85MM in 2017 and 2018. In addition to a $3MM signing bonus, Joseph will also receive a $2.4MM roster bonus.

TUESDAY, 5:04pm: Joseph’s deal with the Vikings will be worth $31.5MM over five years, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter).

4:36pm: The Vikings have signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph, reports Fox Sports 1 Senior NFL Reporter Alex Marvez (via Twitter). Joseph spent his first four years as a part of a star-studded defensive line for the Giants, and had expressed interest in returning to the team in 2014.

Joseph had become a hot name this offseason, being named as one of Luke Adams’ top free agents. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

East Rumors: Giants, Jets, Pats, Eagles

A couple of rumblings from the teams in the Eastern divisions…

  • Jacoby Jones turned down more money from the Giants to re-sign with the Ravens, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
  • Linval Joseph, who was signed by the Vikings, said today that the final offer he got from the Giants was nowhere close to what he got from Minnesota, tweets Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.
  • The Jets have expressed interest in recently reinstated cornerback Brandon Brownertweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. However, at this time, it appears unlikely that he’ll end up with Gang Green.
  • Jason Avant, who hit the market early after being released by the Eagles, will visit with the Patriotstweets Field Yates of ESPN Boston.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) surmises that if another team really wanted Patriots free agent receiver Julian Edelman, he’d be signed by now. The wide receiver market isn’t terribly hot at the moment.
  • Malcolm Jenkins said the Raiders and Rams showed interest before he decided to sign with the Eagles, says Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly (via Twitter). As Mosher points out, Rams’ defensive coordinator Greg Williams was Jenkins’ coach with the Saints.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Contract Details: McCluster, Bradshaw, Cassell

The latest contract details from around the NFL..

  • Dexter McCluster‘s three-year deal with the Titans gets him $7.35MM guaranteed with a $3MM bonus, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. While he can earn $12MM over those three years through incentives, it’s valued closer to $9MM, tweets Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean. The base salaries are as follows: $1MM, $2.35MM, and $2.275MM (link).
  • Ahmad Bradshaw‘s deal with the Colts is a minimum salary benefit contract, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The tailback gets an $855K base which counts as $695K against cap. The deal also has an injury split.
  • Jacoby Jones‘ four-year deal with the Ravens has a base value of $12MM and a max value of $14MM, tweets Wilson. The wide receiver has a $2MM incentive clause for catches and $4.5MM guaranteed.
  • Matt Cassel gets a $3MM roster bonus Monday and a $2.65M base in 2014 in his new two-year, $10.5MM pact with the Vikings, tweets Pelissero. In 2015, it’s a $4.15MM base with a $500K roster bonus due in March. There’s also $100K without the bonus each year. He also has an injury waiver.
  • In Linval Joseph‘s five-year, $31.25MM deal with the Vikings, he gets $12.5MM guaranteed with a $3MM signing bonus, tweets Wilson.
  • Jon Asamoah‘s deal with the Falcons is a five-year, $22.5MM deal with $8MM guaranteed, Pelissero tweets. The total includes $500K in per-game roster bonuses each year.
  • T.J. Ward‘s deal with the Broncos is a four-year, $22.5MM pact with $7MM due in the first year, tweets Pelissero. Another $6.5MM is guaranteed for injury only in 2015.
  • DeMarcus Ware‘s three-year, $30MM deal with the Broncos is front-loaded, with $13MM due in 2014 and $23M after 2015, tweets Joel Corry of CBSSports. Ware’s cap numbers are: $9.6MM, $11.6MM and $8.6MM for 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, adds Corry (via Twitter).
  • Austin Howard‘s five-year, $30MM deal with the Raiders has $11.8MM guaranteed, tweets Wilson. The salaries are as follows: $2.9MM, $3.9MM, $4.4MM, $4.9MM, and $5.4MM.