Goodbye, Big Pat? Vikings agree to terms with nose tackle Remi Ayodele
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The Minnesota Vikings have signed an experienced nose tackle, and it's not Pat Williams.
Remi Ayodele, who started the past two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, has agreed to terms with the Vikings, The Times-Picayune reported late Thursday morning. Terms were not immediately available.
Ayodele, 28, went undrafted out of Oklahoma in 2006 and bounced between New England, Balimore, Dallas and Atlanta before breaking into the rotation with the Saints in 2008.
The 6-foot-2, 318-pound run-stopper played in six games that season, at one point was released and then ended up back with the Saints again in 2009. He since has started 31 of a possible 36 games, including two during New Orleans' run to the Super Bowl XLIV title.
The Web site ProFootballFocus.com ranked Ayodele 50th out of 77 qualifying defensive tackles in the NFL last season, but 25th against the run. Over parts of four NFL seasons, Ayodele has 75 tackes (40 solo) and two sacks.
His skill set is similar to that of Williams, 38, who is an unrestricted free agent and may be done as a Viking after seven seasons. Like Williams, Ayodele probably would play on running downs and then give way to a better pass-rusher when the Vikings play their nickel defense.
Even if Williams returns, he likely will miss the season's first four games after exhausting the legal options that had kept his and Kevin Williams' StarCaps suspensions on hold since 2008. The NFL has yet to confirm it will enforce the suspensions to start this season.
The Vikings were expected to release the only other nose tackle on the roster, Jimmy Kennedy, once that transaction is permitted beginning at 3:01 p.m. Thursday.
Widespread reports said the Vikings also were targeting multiple free-agent receivers on Thursday morning, a day after Sidney Rice bolted to sign with Seattle. ESPN reported the Vikings are in on the bidding for Braylon Edwards (New York Jets) and James Jones (Green Bay), but no deal was imminent. They also reportedly have shown interest in San Diego's Malcom Floyd.