The Minnesota Vikings have been linked to just about every free agent that played for the Cincinnati Bengals over the last couple offseasons. They didn’t get most of them, but the one they got this year is linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.
Head coach Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals when Lamur was in his first and second seasons in the NFL. Lamar played nine games as a rookie in 2012 before sitting out the 2013 campaign with a shoulder injury. That familiarity is important to the head coach.
“I think when you’re messing around in free agency, the more you know a player, the better chance you have of being correct,” Zimmer said at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind. in late February. “So for me, a lot of it has been familiarity … I think that’s an important part of the process, as well.”
That philosophy works for the players as well. The better relationship they have with a coach plays a big part of their decision as well.
“The reason why I came here was because of Zimmer. Simple as that,” Lamur said in conference call after signing with the Vikings. “He’s a good coach. He brings the best out of players and I wanted to play for him.
“As soon as I met (Zimmer), it happened right away. He’s smart. He’s intelligent. You can see that right away. He’s very aggressive as a coach and that’s a coach you want to play for.”
He is an under-the-radar signing that could play a big part in the Vikings’ success next season.
Best Asset: Size/athleticism combination. He is a huge linebacker that runs like a safety. He uses both really well in pass coverage. He has the ability to beat wide receivers and tight ends with physicality in man coverage as well as drop into zone coverage and take away the intermediate routes.
Depth chart analysis: Lamur has primarily been a backup strong-side linebacker and special teams player for the Bengals. He also has experience on the weak side. He is all but guaranteed a roster spot with the Vikings. It will either be as the top backup at both outside spots or a starter on the weak side. A starting lineup of Anthony Barr and Lamur on the outside with Eric Kendricks in the middle would give the Vikings one of the biggest and most athletic linebacker groups in the league. Regardless of his exact role on defense, Lamur will make an impact on special teams. His athleticism and speed as a former safety combined with his 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound frame make him a candidate to play a lot of different positions within the all four special teams units — kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt coverage and punt return.