Datone Jones, Minnesota Vikings Agree to Contract After 4 Years with Packers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2017

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 11:  Datone Jones #95 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after making a sack in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on December 11, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they've agreed to a contract with defensive lineman Datone Jones, who should provide depth to the front seven.

Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan of ESPN first reported the news.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported it's a one-year deal worth $3.75 million but could increase to $5 million.

Jones, 26, spent his first four NFL seasons in Green Bay. He recorded 22 tackles and one sack in 2016, starting a career-high four games. The former first-round pick has started just seven of his 59 career games but provided serviceable production while working as part of the Packers' defensive line rotation.

While the Packers declined Jones' fifth-year option, there was optimism from both sides that he would return.

“I love being a part of this organization, the city,” Jones told Ryan Wood of PackersNews.com, “and everything it has to offer as far as a fan base, and as far as that family feel. It’s special to be a part of this organization. You really don’t think about it until you’re sitting here, you’re in this light.

“For me, I’m just going to take it a day at a time. I’m not really worried about free agency because I really want to be back here.”

Bringing Jones back would have been similar to the Packers' re-signing of Nick Perry a year ago. Perry, like Jones, was an underperforming first-round pick. He signed a one-year, $5 million deal and returned to record 11 sacks in a breakout campaign.

The Vikings likely saw the similarities and hoped if they paid Jones a bit more than Green Bay was willing to offer would lead to a similar breakout. When Jones arrived, the Packers were playing a different defensive scheme, and he arguably never got to use his skills to their fullest extent.

Minnesota has also seen Jones twice per year for each of his four NFL seasons; there is obviously something there the front office liked.

Jones is unlikely to be Minnesota's top defensive lineman, but he'll still make filling out the front seven a little easier. Pro Football Focus ranked Jones as the No. 61 edge rusher in the sport last season. At 6'4" and 285 pounds, Jones does not have the quickness off the ball to be an elite pass rusher but has the versatility to be solid against the run and pass. 

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