Former Viking Pro Bowler Joins Eagles on 1-Year Deal

Questions Answered: Linval to the Enemy,
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) walk towards the locker room before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers in a NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of rookie sensation Jordan Davis hitting injured reserve a couple of weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles have been searching for options on the interior defensive line. It seems they’ve found one in a former Viking Pro Bowler. That player is DT Linval Joseph.

Early Years with Giants

Joseph was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New York Giants with the 46th overall pick. After spending much of his rookie season buried on New York’s depth chart, appearing in just six games, he quickly emerged as one of the better defensive tackles in the entire NFL during his second season.

During that 2011 campaign, Joseph played all 16 games, including 15 starts, and he recorded 49 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks, and even 4 pass defenses. In all, the defensive tackle played four seasons with the Giants, including a start in Super Bowl XLVI.

Over those four seasons, the emerging star played in 53 regular season games and started 46 of them. He put together 175 tackles, 18 TFLs, and 9 sacks while forcing two fumbles and recovering three.

Vikings Years

After the 2013 season, Joseph hit free agency as one of the more coveted pieces of the offseason. In the end, he signed a 5-year, $31.25 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings who were coming off a disappointing 5-10-1 season in 2013 under Leslie Frazier.

With Minnesota is when Joseph’s career really began to take off. 2014 was largely a normal year for the defensive lineman, and in 2015, he played just 12 games due to an injury, but it quickly was becoming clear that he could be a defensive star. Ahead of the 2016 season, he was named No. 76 on the NFL Top-100 players list.

2016 ended up being a career year for Joseph, and he recorded career highs in tackles (77), QB hits (17), sacks (4.0), and forced fumbles (3). For his efforts, the star defensive lineman was named to his first Pro Bowl. That offseason, the Vikings signed him to a four-year, $50 million extension, and he proceeded to make another Pro Bowl in 2017.

During the 2017 season in which the Vikings made the NFC Championship Game, he recorded 68 tackles, 5 TFLs, 10 QB hits, and 3.5 sacks.

Overall, Joseph played six seasons with the Vikings from 2014-19, and during this time, he emerged as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. He played in 88 games, starting all of them, and recorded 350 tackles, 32 TFLs, 51 QB hits, 15 sacks, and forced six fumbles. He also returned a 61-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in 2018.

Most Recent Stretch

Following the 2019 season, the Vikings released Joseph, and he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers where he played in both 2020 and 2021. While he didn’t put up the same gaudy numbers as he did in Minnesota, recording just 1 sack over the two seasons, he remained a consistent presence as a run-stopper. He recorded PFF grades of 68.7 in 2020 and 63.4 in 2021.

The 34-year-old has remained a free agent throughout the 2022 season, but now the Eagles turn to him to help their run defense. Philadelphia currently holds the No. 1 seed in the NFC via a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Minnesota Vikings.

Each team holds an 8-1 record this season, and they look like the main competitors to win the NFC. Perhaps Joseph will find himself playing against his former team once again during this year’s playoffs.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.