Vikings lose defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to Browns in free agency

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 16: Dalvin Tomlinson #94 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with James Lynch #92 after a play during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Pho (Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings started the NFL’s negotiating window ahead of free agency by agreeing to contracts with tight end Josh Oliver and pass rusher Marcus Davenport.

They also lost veteran defensive back Patrick Peterson to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and were dealt another blow Monday night. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson agreed to a four-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.

Contracts can’t be official until NFL free agency officially opens on Wednesday afternoon.

Losing Tomlinson is a big blow to the Vikings’ defensive line. He started 29 games over the last two seasons with Minnesota, missing five games last season with a calf injury. In two seasons with the Vikings, Tomlinson had 81 tackles, five tackles for loss and four sacks. He was key in clogging up the middle of the trenches in run defense.

With that development Monday night, the Vikings are now without Tomlinson, Peterson, Eric Kendricks and Cam Dantzler from last year’s defense. We also await possible roster decisions on Za’Darius Smith, and Harrison Smith. Za’Darius Smith posted what felt like a goodbye to Vikings’ fans on social media late last week, and reports emerged he has asked for his release from Minnesota. So far, the Vikings have not granted that release.

He had 10 sacks last season, but just 1.5 over the last 10 games.

Veteran safety Harrison Smith has spent all 11 of his seasons in Minnesota, and is due $14.7 million in base salary this season. He’d cost the Vikings more than $19 million against the salary cap, and it would cost them $11.7 million in dead cap money to release him, unless the two sides can agree to a restructured contract.

Harrison Smith tied his career-high with five interceptions last season. 

The Vikings are currently thin in the secondary with Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans the only players under contract for next season. Duke Shelley, Chandon Sullivan and Kris Boyd are pending free agents.