They will bring former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton to Minnesota for a visit on Thursday, according to a league source. Melton, who went to the Pro Bowl in 2012 for the Bears, is an unrestricted free agent this spring after tearing his left ACL during the third game of last season.
That injury might be what gives the Vikings a chance at Melton, who's just 27 and would likely have had a much more robust market if he hadn't been hurt. He could still get a multi-year deal from a team looking for a three-technique tackle, if he's able to prove he's healthy. The Vikings, on the other hand, would likely be looking for someone to share the load with second-year man Sharrif Floyd. They'd obviously have to offer a role that Melton deemed worth taking, and Melton will have to answer questions about his knee. But if the Vikings get a chance to talk with a player who looked on his way to becoming one of the better defensive tackles in the league before he got hurt, it's probably worth their time.
We'll see what the interest in Melton means for Kevin Williams, who is a free agent and had expressed interest in returning to the Vikings for a 12th season. If he did return, Williams would likely play a reduced role in the Vikings' defense, and would have to learn a new system from the one that's made him a six-time Pro Bowler, but he'd add a veteran presence to a defensive line that's making a pronounced turn toward youth. If the Vikings can get Melton, though, they might not have room for Williams. We'll see how things develop in the next few days.