Falcons Vikings Football Stephen

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

When Shamar Stephen signed a one-year deal with the Broncos on Tuesday, he wasn't sure what his role would be on a roster full of defensive talent.

But this didn't matter to the 30-year-old defensive tackle, who has spent seven years in the NFL and started 31 games in Minnesota the last two seasons. He wanted to be a part of coach Vic Fangio's defense, whether that's as a starter or a role player. 

"I just feel comfortable here," Stephen said during a virtual press conference Wednesday. "My role here is to do what the coaches ask me to do and help the team win."

Stephen joins a defensive line that will likely see Shelby Harris, Mike Purcell and Dre'Mont Jones as starters and himself being a key reserve, as the Broncos rotate often up front. Stephen's other adjustment is going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, which he said he "feels comfortable in." 

"Just being able to rotate, because they love to rotate their guys and be able to be fresh and have consistent downs every down," said Stephen, who totaled 34 tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack last year for the Vikings. "The movement, the multifaceted ability of the defense, just being able to have different fronts, different things, being able to play different positions. ... This defense allows you to become a complete player."

Stephen joins cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller as the Broncos defensive free agency signings this offseason, along with the extensions of Harris and safety Justin Simmons. He's also the second Viking new general manager and former Minnesota executive George Paton has signed, following running back Mike Boone. 

Stephen said Paton was a large reason why he signed with Denver, hoping to be a part of the "winning culture" Paton's building. 

"I just want to aid in that," Stephen said. "They have a chance to be a dominant defense. ... I'm excited to be in the defense and am going to do whatever I need to to help win games." 

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