Lawrence Jackson

With an aging defensive line that’s not going to be as effective as in the past, the Minnesota Vikings need to start looking for younger options, not only through the draft, which is impossible to use in making an immediate change in multiple positions. For that, there are the remaining free agents, like Lawrence Jackson, departing after three seasons with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, 27, was a first round pick out of USC in 2008 and got to play two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. He did play for them during his first couple of seasons in the NFL, usually as a starter, but wasn’t as explosive off the edge of the line as most expected him to. He left to the Detroit Lions for a sixth round pick, and while playing 37 times for the Lions, he never started once, picking up 13 sacks.

While Jackson isn’t going to provide the Vikings with someone who can step right in and play every down at a very high level, he’s quite useful in a more of a rotational role, filling in on both sides of the line while Jared Allen and Brian Robison take a breather.

The Vikings were ranked fifth in the NFL last season with 44 sacks, and Jackson, who recorded 2.5 sacks with one forced fumble during quite limited playing time should be able to help them keep that dominance against opposing quarterbacks by providing his expertise from snap to snap.