The Arizona Cardinals signed former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Nick Vigil this offseason in free agency, a move that surely did not move the needle much for Cardinals fans. However, he appears to be set to have an important role on the Arizona defense.
With third-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons set to play all over the field in the team’s “star backer” role, playing linebacker, rushing off the edge, playing safety and even at slot cornerback, Vigil figures to get extension playing time next to second-year linebacker Zaven Collins.
Vigil is no stranger to being in the starting lineup. He has started 51 games in his NFL career, including 12 last year in 16 games for the Vikings.
While few are excited about Vigil this season, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is a fan.
“Nick’s been a nice addition for us,” Joseph said Saturday after practice. “He’s a veteran player that’s played a lot of football. He hasn’t stuck a lot of places because they keep drafting first-round picks behind him, but he’s always played good football.”
Last year, he had 85 tackles, a sack and an interception he returned for a touchdown against the Cardinals in Week 2. His best season was in 2016 when he started all 16 games for the Cincinnati Bengals and had 111 tackles, a sack, an interception and two fumble recoveries.
Joseph trusts him.
“He’s long and smart and can cover,” he said. “He plays all three downs…He can really run.”
Playing for the Vikings last season, he worked under Mike Zimmer, who Joseph says is “one of (his) guys.”
Vigil might not start every game this season, depending on the game plan the Cardinals have for Simmons each week, but he should end up being a critical piece in the middle of the defense.
Hopefully, he shows what Joseph sees in him.