The Vikings’ UDFA Defender “Has Muscles on Muscles” and a “GPS Toward the Ball”

Nov 26, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Air Force Falcons linebacker PJ Ramsey (13) is congratulated by linebacker Bo Richter (8) after sacking San Diego State Aztecs quarterback Jalen Mayden (18) during the first half at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings’ UDFA edge rusher — the Air Force’s Bo Richter — has a shot at sticking around in Minnesota.

The competition at his position is going to be ferocious, as Josh Frey recently discussed in his discussion about Gabriel Murphy. Free agent additions Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel are leading the way. Dallas Turner, the No. 17 selection, is very likely to be the EDGE3. The Vikings will then be looking to keep two or three more options for the 53-man roster. Can Richter make the final team?

Bo Richter, The Vikings’ UDFA Defender, Has a Shot at Sticking Around

The scouting profile on offers some reason for optimism.

Consider what Lance Zierlein had to say: “Richter is an undersized edge defender with short arms, but his athletic profile gives him a chance to compete for a roster spot. He has muscles on muscles and a strong base that allows him to play through edges and maintain balance at contact. He also has plus pursuit speed and racked up impact stats on the other side of the line. His rush is more effort-based than skilled, and that production might not translate as a pro. However, his pro day testing was terrific, and he plays with a nice GPS toward the ball. Richter might need to prove he can play off-ball linebacker, but his traits and special-teams potential should help his chances.”

Nov 26, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Air Force Falcons linebacker Bo Richter (8d) reacts after a play against the San Diego State Aztecs during the second half at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Ideally, an edge rusher will have more length (Danielle Hunter is an example of someone with a great build for the position). Having longer arms better allows the edge defender to keep an offensive tackle’s mitts off his chest; the hope is for increased vision and a greater ability to shed a blocker to make a play on the ball carrier.

The upside is simply that he “has muscles on muscles” while showing off “terrific” testing and then having a “GPS” for the football. Sounds like someone worth taking a shot on, especially within undrafted free agency. After all, the NFL piece suggested that Richter should get scooped up in the 6th of 7th.

He’s 6’1” and weighs 248 pounds, which is closer to off-ball linebacker than 3-4 outside linebacker.

Oct 14, 2023; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; Air Force Falcons linebacker Bo Richter (8) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Wyoming Cowboys at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Richter snagged 10 sacks and 19.5 TFLs while playing for Air Force last season, some excellent production. And then PFF tossed over a stellar 87.3 grade for his efforts. He arrived at that grade while playing 580 of his 623 snaps along the edge.

Minnesota’s hope for Bo Richter isn’t to have picked up a Year 1 starter. Instead, the hope is to have picked up someone who can battle for a roster spot, potentially settling into the practice squad as he continues growing his game.

The NFL blurb mentions special teams, which is undoubtedly a crucial piece of the puzzle for any depth player. But then Richter will need to show some front-seven versatility, as well. Any chance he can add a bit of weight and kick inside to 3T/5T on passing downs? Or could he be an off-ball linebacker? These are questions he’ll look to answer during the summer.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores watches his team play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

So while expectations shouldn’t soar too high, there is some reason for optimism with Mr. Richter. He has some potential to rise above his modest entry into the NFL.

Per Over the Cap, the defender is playing on a 3-year, $2.835 million deal that includes $15,000 in guaranteed money. Last year, NaJee Thompson made the team even though he didn’t land any guaranteed cash, so don’t write off Bo Richter just yet.

Editor’s Note: Information from Sports Reference CFB and PFF helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.