Vikings Add More Beef to Their Defensive Line

Sep 17, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (90) against Buffalo Bills guard David Edwards (76) in the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest question marks for the Minnesota Vikings heading into the 2024 offseason was at the defensive tackle position.

They went into the offseason with three players at the position. After releasing Dean Lowry and re-signing Jonathan Bullard, that is how things remained heading into Thursday. That has officially changed, though, after the Vikings opted to sign Jerry Tillery.

DT Jerry Tillery Signs with Vikings

Oct 1, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (90) has words with Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) after he was called for unnecessary roughness by referee John Hussey (35) with a late hit on Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Tillery was ejected from the game. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the news on Thursday afternoon, tweeting, “The #Vikings are signing DT Jerry Tillery to a one-year deal worth up to $3.75 million, per source. A new home for the former first-round pick.”

Tillery was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He spent about 3.5 seasons in LA, piling up a total of 98 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and a pair of passes defended during his tenure there.

The defensive tackle was then waived about halfway through the 2022 season, and it was Los Angeles’ division rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders, to claim Tillery off waivers. He would make four starts and play in a total of eight games for Las Vegas to conclude the season.

Jerry Tillery
January 1, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (90) reacts after San Francisco 49ers place kicker Robbie Gould (9) misses a field goal during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Following the conclusion of a 2023 season in which Tillery played all 17 games for Las Vegas, he then hit free agency, thus allowing the Vikings to pick him up

The Vikings struggled to generate much of a pass rush from their defensive line in 2023. Tillery should be able to help at least a little bit in that department, seeing as he has recorded a grand total of 12.5 sacks over his career. This past season, he was credited with 29 QB pressures for the Raiders, which tied for 45th in the NFL among defensive linemen.

Hopefully, this is just the first of multiple moves that the Vikings make at defensive tackle this offseason. From the free agency market, Arik Armstead would be another top pass rushing option to help if Minnesota can work out a deal with the former San Francisco 49er.

Sep 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) heads onto the field during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Then, the draft is chock full of DT talent. The Vikings have nine draft selections in April, and one of them certainly should be used on a defensive tackle. Regardless, Minnesota has officially begun revamping their defensive line for the 2024 season.

Tillery will turn 28 years old on October 8th.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.