It has been an adventure this year for the Minnesota Vikings at nose tackle.

Last March, in a salary-related move, they released Linval Joseph, who made two Pro Bowls in six Minnesota seasons. But the Vikings quickly signed notable free agent Michael Pierce.

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, Pierce last week opted out of the season due to his respiratory issues. The Vikings then last Monday traded a seventh-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for P.J. Hall, who was expected to compete to start.

But Hall failed his physical, and the trade was rescinded Tuesday. Nevertheless, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Andre Patterson doesn’t seem bothered at all by the situation at nose tackle.

“I feel great,’’ Patterson said Friday, Aug. 7. “We have a lot of talent in that room. … I think we’re going to be just fine.’’

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The Vikings have holdover reserve nose tackles Jaleel Johnson and Armon Watts, and Shamar Stephen, last year’s starter at three-technique defensive tackle, can play the spot. They also selected James Lynch in the fourth round of the draft.

Patterson said Stephen is getting reps in training camp at nose tackle, but noted that he expects all his interior linemen to be able to play both defensive tackle spots.

“I’m looking at all the options,’’ Patterson said. “I’m going to put the best combination out there that gives us the best opportunity to succeed.’’

Patterson said “people write stuff about” Stephen that is unflattering because he doesn’t have gaudy stats but that’s not a fair indicator. Patterson said the reason middle linebacker Eric Kendricks last season “went to the Pro Bowl are those two big bodies sitting in front of him.’’

One of those big guys is gone in Joseph. However, Patterson pointed to a 28-24 win at Dallas last November when Joseph was out with a knee injury and Stephen, Johnson and Watts were effective rotating at the two interior spots.

With the 6-foot, 340-pound Pierce not playing this season, Patterson said he wants to “make sure he hires a good trainer and a great nutritionist.’’ He said he wants Pierce to “find someone who can cook your meals.’’

Hunter staying put

While many top defensive ends line up on the right side and the departure of Everson Griffen has opened up that spot on the Vikings, they have no plans to move Danielle Hunter.

“He’s still a left defensive end to me,’’ Patterson said of the two-time Pro Bowl selection. “Why would you move somebody that’s doing something great? … We’re going to keep him where he feels comfortable. Obviously, there are going to be games where we move him around a little bit.’’

Ifeadi Odenigbo is the most likely candidate to replace Griffen. He came on late last season, and finished third on the team with seven sacks.

“Just keep getting better,’’ Patterson said of what Odenigbo needs to do. “That’s how he made the jump that he made last year. What he cannot do is put pressure on himself that, ‘OK, I’ve got a chance to be a starting player, so now I’m going to change my routine.’ ’’


–Quarterback Kirk Cousins is adjusting to Gary Kubiak taking over as offensive coordinator after being an advisor last year. “He kind of still keeps that view from 30,000 feet where he’s just observing,’’ Cousins said. “He’ll speak into things when he has a thought. … Gary is obviously the voice in meetings.’’

–Cousins said center Garrett Bradbury is making great strides in his second season. “It’s a tremendous help that we don’t have a rookie center this year,’’ he said.

–Safety Harrison Smith said the Vikings “will miss” Jerry Gray, who was not retained as defensive backs coach, and that he “learned a ton from him.’’ But Smith said replacement Daronte Jones is “very detail-oriented” and “he’s going to be great for us.’’