ST. PAUL -- Defensive end Tashawn Bower is returning to the Minnesota Vikings after being plucked off New England’s practice squad, a source said Wednesday.
Bower, who got into seven games with the Vikings in 2017 and 2018, will provide depth on a defensive line to be without end Everson Griffen on Sunday at San Francisco. Griffen locked himself in his Minnetrista residence early Wednesday morning after posting a video, which has since been deleted, of him holding a semiautomatic pistol and after calling 911 about a possible intruder. Law enforcement and mental health officials went to the scene, did not find an intruder, and Griffen later emerged from his residence without incident.
The Vikings also have ruled out for Sunday defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who was placed Tuesday on the COVID-19 reserve list. Tomlinson is unvaccinated and, if he tested positive, would have to quarantine for 10 days.
A source said Bower was at the airport on Wednesday preparing to fly to the Twin Cities to take part in Thursday’s practice.
Bower signed with the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. He was expected to be in line for increased playing time before he suffered a torn Achilles during an offseason workout in 2019, and eventually was waived off the non-football injury list in October 2019. Bower returned to play in seven games with the Patriots last season and in two this season, which included having a sack in one.
Assuming Griffen does not play against the 49ers, the Vikings would be without all four defensive line starters. End Danielle Hunter was ruled out for the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle on Oct. 31, and nose tackle Michael Pierce will miss his seventh straight game while on injured reserve with an elbow injury.
“I wouldn’t use the term depleted. I don’t look at it that way,” Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson said of the situation. “… You prepare everybody to get a chance to play. … The San Francisco 49ers are not going to feel sorry for us. I don’t feel sorry for us. We’re going to go compete. That’s who I am. We’re going to go compete and we’re going to go play for 60 minutes and find a way to win the game.”
One starter on the defensive line is expected to be Sheldon Richardson, a defensive tackle who played some at defensive end in last Sunday’s 34-31 win over the Packers. Patterson said he expects Richardson to move around on the line against the 49ers. He could replace Tomlinson at three-technique defensive tackle and also could provide help at defensive help due to the situation involving Griffen.
Allen named semifinalist for Hall, Williams again snubbed
Former Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen, in his second year of eligibility, was named Wednesday one of 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall Fame Class of 2022.
In his first year of eligibility, Allen was one of 15 finalists for the Class of 2021, so Wednesday’s news was hardly a surprise. Allen played in the NFL from 2004-15, including 2008-13 with the Vikings. With 136 career sacks, he is 12th on the NFL’s all-time list.
“It’s a great honor and hopefully I can be a finalist again and get in this year,” Allen said. “It’s always a blessing to be recognized with the greats that have played this game.”
Former Vikings star defensive tackle Kevin Williams, also in his second year of eligibility, was not named a semifinalist for the second straight year. Williams played in the NFL from 2003-15, including 2003-13 with the Vikings. With the Vikings, Williams made six Pro Bowls and five times was named first-team all-pro.
Allen in his career made five Pro Bowls, four with Minnesota, and four times was named all-pro, three with the Vikings.