The Vikings Waive a Defensive Lineman, Trade for Another

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Armon Watts (96) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the more surprising moves of roster cutdown day, the Minnesota Vikings waived starting defensive lineman Armon Watts on Tuesday. Watts has been slated in a starter for much of the offseason after making nine starts during the 2021 season. Appearing in all 17 games, Watts recorded 46 tackles, three TFLs, five sacks, and forced two fumbles. Watts got limited snaps in the first two preseason games but sat out the finale in Denver making it seem like his roster spot was safe. Turns out, no one is safe on cutdown day.

Minnesota wasn’t done there, though. Following the Vikings waive of their starting defensive lineman, they made a trade with the Houston Texans to acquire a lineman with similar potential that Watts displayed early in his career. By sending a sixth-round pick to Houston, the Vikings acquired Ross Blacklock and a seventh-round pick.

Coming out of TCU, Blacklock was one of the best defensive tackles in the entire 2020 draft class, but he has had his struggles to this point in the NFL. In two years, he has started just three games, making two sacks. He is certainly a less proven player than Watts, but the upside with his speed, athleticism, and pass-rush repertoire that was displayed at TCU is certainly why the Vikings feel comfortable bringing him in.

It’s worth noting as well that Blacklock began making strides in Lovie Smith’s 3-4 defensive scheme; the same format that the Vikings will be running in 2022. We shall see how this shaken up defensive line stacks up when the Vikings first official depth chart is released.

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