Vikings Sign DT Harrison Phillips, Cut Michael Pierce
Business hours weren’t enough for the Minnesota Vikings front office on Monday. They needed happy hour and an evening night cap to get their defensive tackle position situated. But when it was over, they had replaced an oft-injured and rather disappointing Michael Pierce with a hopefully burgeoning talent in 26-year-old Harrison Phillips, formerly of the Buffalo Bills.
The pair of offseason transactions moved the Vikings from $2 million over the salary cap, to $2 million under, meaning Kwesi & Co have reached cap compliancy.
Source confirms the #Vikings have agreed with Bills DT Harrison Phillips on a three-year, $19.5 million deal. We'll see what that means for the middle of their defensive line, but for the time being, three's a crowd.— Ben Goessling (@BenGoessling) March 15, 2022
The Vikings cut Michael Pierce, saving more than $6.2 million on the cap, shortly after they signed DT Harrison Phillips.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 15, 2022
Who is Harrison Phillips?
Harrison Phillips didn’t find his way to a starting role on a deep Bills defensive front until the end of last season. He started the final 8 games in 2022 (including playoffs) and has 11 total starts under his NFL belt. But the Vikings clearly see the young 3-year veteran as talented interior defensive lineman who’s just hitting his stride in the league.
If right, they’ll sure up the inside of a shaky-looking defensive line and pay a much-needed bargain bin rate to do it. Given how often Pierce failed to take the field while on the Minnesota Vikings roster over the last two seasons, Phillips will be an upgrade as long as he’s active on Sundays.
Now should Harrison Phillips (#99 in the highlight video below) play as well as some of the Twitter experts believe, then the Vikings are off to a good offseason start. But there’s a lot of work left to do.
Vikings essentially swap out Michael Pierce (78.5 PFF grade in just 8 games in 2 seasons) for Harrison Phillips (75.2 PFF grade in '21), who had a 78.9 grade vs. run. Likely a better fit for new defensive scheme, and a little cheaper.— Kevin Brown (@KevinBrownNFL) March 15, 2022
What’s Next for Vikings?
Making decisions on what to do with Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr make sense as the next logical steps for Kwesi & Co, which I wrote about in detail on Monday. But I’d imagine this front office wants to hit free agency on Wednesday with as much flexibility as possible.
To free up more money, the Minnesota Vikings could look at restructuring, extending, trading or cutting the contracts of Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, and even Dalvin Cook. Given how this “new” regime has handled the offseason so far, all four are expected to return after agreeing to help move money around.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan