NFC North: Pat Sims

MINNEAPOLIS -- Defensive tackle Henry Melton, who visited the Minnesota Vikings last week, won't be signing with the team for next season.

Melton tweeted on Tuesday evening he is planning to join the Dallas Cowboys, and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Melton has a multi-year deal with the team. The Vikings had stayed in contact with Melton's agent since the former Chicago Bears defensive tackle visited the team last week, but Melton, who is from Grapevine, Tex., and had played for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in Chicago, went where he had the most familiarity.

For two veteran Vikings defensive linemen -- Jared Allen and Kevin Williams -- the move might have opposite effects. The Cowboys had just $7 million in cap space before signing Melton, and it seems unlikely they'd be able to afford Allen (who visited the Cowboys on Tuesday) after landing Melton.

The Vikings, on the other hand, still have an opening for another three-technique tackle in their defensive line rotation, and we'll see now how serious they are about bringing Williams back. General manager Rick Spielman said last Friday the Vikings had not made a decision on Williams, but added the team had told the six-time Pro Bowler it had "some other needs that we definitely wanted to get done first."

We'll see now where Williams ranks in the Vikings' pecking order of potential three-technique tackles -- if he's their next option orif they'd pursue another possibility in free agency or the draft. Former Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims played for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati, though Sims could still be looking for a bigger role and contract than the Vikings would be able to offer after a strong year in Oakland.

The Vikings missed out on a unique opportunity (albeit with some risk) now that Melton will play his first year after ACL surgery in Dallas. But Floyd looked more assertive toward the end of the season, and his footwork could make him a good fit for Zimmer's defense. The Vikings likely won't pin the whole workload on the second-year tackle, though, and with Melton gone, they'll have to decide how they want to go about adding another player to share part of the job with Floyd.

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