MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce considers himself one of the 10 strongest players in the NFL. The Vikings will need his strength.

They're remaking a defense from which five starters and three key backups have departed.

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Pierce spent his first four seasons in the league with the Baltimore Ravens. He was undrafted out of FCS program Samford before muscling his way into the lineup.

Pierce was held out of minicamp practices last spring by the Ravens because he was overweight before getting back in better shape. He says he overlooked his conditioning while focusing too much on weightlifting.

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