EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings had just secured their new quarterback with the splash move of the NFL’s offseason. Coach Mike Zimmer was busy working on addressing another area that needed an upgrade.

The same day Kirk Cousins was introduced with his $84 million fully guaranteed contract, Zimmer was watching video of some of the top defensive tackle prospects in the upcoming draft. Then the solution literally walked into his office to greet him.

Sheldon Richardson was at team headquarters on a free-agent visit, which the Vikings didn’t let him leave without signing him to a one-year, $8 million deal.

As important as Cousins has been and will continue to be, the value of adding Richardson can’t be overlooked.

His presence on the interior at the position next to the nose tackle commonly called the “three technique” has provided a critical boost to the defense in both stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.

According to SportRadar, Richardson is fourth among all NFL interior defensive linemen with 21 quarterback pressures, behind Aaron Donald (53), Fletcher Cox (26) and Geno Atkins (25). Richardson had two sacks last week against Green Bay, a bonus from a position where disruption in the backfield is the priority.

Richardson, a first-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2013 out of Missouri, was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year before eventually falling out of favor and being traded to Seattle. After one season with the Seahawks, Richardson was widely considered the best available player at his position on the market last spring. His decision to sign with a contending team on a prove-it contract has set him up well for a much bigger payday.

The Patriots have plenty of experience defending him, of course, from the eight times they faced the Jets over his first four seasons.

“He’s a great player, and he was certainly a problem when he was in this division,” Coach Bill Belichick said.

JETS: The starting QB is to be determined for Sunday.

Sam Darnold and Josh McCown were both limited at practice for the second straight day, leaving it uncertain who will play at Tennessee.

Coach Todd Bowles said Darnold, McCown and Davis Webb each had snaps and ran the offense during drills.

RAVENS: Quarterback Joe Flacco returned to the practice field for the first time since injuring his right hip on Nov. 4.

Having finally received medical clearance to play, Flacco threw passes and worked on handoffs with fellow quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III during an indoor practice.

BEARS: QB Mitchell Trubisky is considered “day to day” by Coach Matt Nagy and practiced for the second straight day, but only on a limited basis.