Vikings sign free-agent DE Wootton
The Minnesota Vikings aren’t slowing down in their attempt to overhaul the league’s second-worst defense from last year and give new coach Mike Zimmer pieces for his unit.
Hours after Minnesota officially announced signing defensive tackle Tom Johnson from the New Orleans Saints, the Vikings apparently added more depth to the defensive line. Former Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Minnesota, according to a tweet from Wootton’s agent, Michael McCartney.
Wootton also shared the news with a tweet.
"Want to thank the Chicago Bears organization, my teammates, and the fans for an incredible 4 years excited to start a new chapter in Minn!," Wootton wrote on his Twitter page (@CoreyWootton).
Wootton, 26, played in 16 games for Chicago last season, including 15 starts. He finished with a career-high 34 tackles to go with three sacks, while moving inside for part of the season to fill in for injured defensive tackle Henry Melton.
Wootton (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) had hip surgery in January, but told the Chicago Sun-Times he would be 100 percent recovered by July.
A fourth-round draft pick by Chicago out of Northwestern in 2010, Wootton had a career-high seven sacks in 2012, while playing in all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career, including seven starts.
Wootton’s first career sack essentially ended the career of former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.
In a late December game in 2010, Wootton beat former Minnesota left tackle Bryant McKinnie and slammed Favre to the frozen turf at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. Favre’s head hit the turf and he was diagnosed with a concussion. Favre wouldn’t play another game before retiring after the season.
The Vikings were playing at TFC Bank Stadium because of the roof collapsing at the team’s home stadium, the Metrodome. Minnesota will return to TCF Bank Stadium for the next two seasons with the Metrodome torn down as the team’s new $1 billion stadium is built in the same spot.
The Vikings added nose tackle Linval Joseph from the New York Giants in free agency last week and re-signed defensive end Everson Griffen and defensive tackle Fred Evans to go with defensive end Brian Robison and Sharrif Floyd along the defensive line.
The additions of Wootton and Johnson give Minnesota more experienced personnel for Zimmer’s remade defense.
"Ideally, I know you’d like to have eight guys," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said last week. "We were able to sign Fred Evans back to a one-year deal. But ideally you’d like to have eight guys that you know are going to be active on game day that you can rotate in and out of there. And I know one thing that coach Zimmer really emphasizes — he wants guys that can stop the run, but we need to get some guys to make sure we’re able to put pressure on the quarterback."
Follow Brian Hall on Twitter