Following the move to the Green Bay Packers by Julius Peppers and Henry Melton's signing with the Dallas Cowboys, another of the Bears' defensive linemen from last season has found a new home. According to this tweet from his agent:
Wootton played college football at Northwestern University and was widely considered one of the top defensive end talents for the 2010 draft, having earned first team All-Big Ten Conference honors as a junior, until an ACL injury derailed his final year. He was taken in the 4th round of the 2010 draft by former general manager Jerry Angelo in what would turn out to be his last year as Bears GM.
After two injury-plagued seasons as a Bear, he broke into the starting lineup during the 2012 season and replaced Israel Idonije at left defensive end for the final 7 games, on his way to collecting 7 sacks. He'll probably be best remembered for his first career sack in December of 2010, in which Brett Favre was concussed in what would turn out to be the last ever play (so far) of his NFL career.
Wootton underwent arthroscopic hip surgery after the 2013 season and is expected to make a full recovery, but the Bears' makeover of the defensive line left him out in the cold. Details of his one-year contract with the Vikings have not yet been disclosed but expect it to be a modest prove-it deal to show NFL teams that he'll have recovered from the hip procedure.
A mistake by Phil Emery to let go a versatile lineman on a much-maligned unit, or will the Bears be able to land enough depth in the draft and free agency?
Update (hat tip to Bear4Ever):