Heading into the 2013 season, three of the four starting defensive linemen were in the last year of their contract. One would have expected a greater sense of urgency from these guys as they auditioned for their next contract.
Only nose tackle Letroy Guion was under contract with the Vikings beyond 2013—that was until earlier this month, when Brian Robison signed a four-year $28 million contract extension.
The Vikings second-leading sack producer the past two seasons, Robison has only one sack in six games this year. He does, however, have the Vikings' only defensive touchdown on the season.
Six-time Pro Bowler, Kevin Williams restructured his contract before the season, signing a one-year deal worth $5 million. The Vikings must have known what they were doing. After missing the season opener, Williams has averaged only one tackle per game and is on pace for the worst season in his 11-year career.
Figuring that this is Williams' last year with the Vikings, they used their top draft pick to get his replacement. Sharrif Floyd was regarded by many as the top defensive tackle in the draft and a top-15 pick. That means the Vikings were very fortunate that he was available when they selected at No. 19.
So far this season, he's done well while splitting time with Williams. Floyd has 1.5 sacks and has batted down a couple of passes at the line of scrimmage. However, he has not dominated like a team's top pick is expected to.
The heart and soul of the defensive line is Jared Allen. Since joining the Vikings in 2008, Allen has led the team with an average of 15 sacks per season. That number is bloated by his 22.0 sacks in 2011, though, and this seaosn, he is on pace for 12 sacks. Against the Giants, he had one of the most impressive sacks of the year when he drove the offensive lineman into Eli Manning, reached around the tackle and grabbing Manning's jersey.
Last year, the Vikings' top backup, Everson Griffen, finished with eight sacks. This season, he only has one through six games. That is not exactly the kind of performance that will have NFL teams bidding for his services.
In 2012, the defensive line averaged 2.2 sacks per game. This season, that number has dropped by almost one full sack to 1.3 per game. The less pressure on opposing quarterbacks has not helped the defensive backfield any.