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At least for now, former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins has had a soft market in free agency.

The Bengals cut the modern franchise legend loose earlier this offseason, though it always seemed like a reunion could be possible at a later date — albeit at a cheaper cost.

But some experts see things playing out differently.

One of those is ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who predicts Atkins is more likely to go re-up with Mike Zimmer on the Minnesota Vikings via a one-year deal:

“You may see a theme of players reuniting with their former coaches in this piece. Atkins’ breakout years came when Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati, and the Vikings head coach could use some pass-rushing help in Minnesota. Atkins was anonymous last year as the Bengals reduced his role in the lineup, but the 33-year-old is only two seasons removed from a 10-sack campaign. Atkins would slot in as an interior rusher on passing downs as part of a rotation with run-stuffer Michael Pierce.”

It’s a safe, understandable projection for Atkins at this stage of his career. No matter where he lands, the interior pass-rusher will need to take a prove-it deal to show last year’s injury-riddled season was an anomaly.

While the Bengals did add to the interior of the defensive line multiple times this offseason, looping Atkins back into the rotation wouldn’t be the worst idea. It would probably be a pretty popular move with fans, too. Atkins’ market figures to heat up around training camp, if not right before the season starts.


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