Vikings-Free Agency Football

FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2019, file photo, Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen gets set for a play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

The Broncos added depth to its defensive line Tuesday, signing Minnesota defensive lineman Shamar Stephen, a source confirmed to The Gazette. 

Stephen, 30, comes to Denver with seven years of experience, playing in Minnesota from 2014-17, Seattle in 2018 and back in Minnesota in 2019-20. He's started 65 games in his career, totaling 173 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Last season, he played a career-high 662 snaps and started all 16 games for the Vikings, recording 34 tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack. 

The addition makes sense for the Broncos, considering new general manager George Paton's connection to Minnesota, having worked there while Stephen was a Viking. It was also a necessary move to add depth up front.

Stephen's role will likely be as a backup, behind Shelby Harris, Mike Purcell and Dre'Mont Jones. But in a league that defensive linemen rarely play more than 60-70% of the snaps in a single game, Stephen could play a big role for the Broncos. 

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