The Minnesota Vikings surprised many last season by reaching the NFC Divisional Round. This offseason, they bolstered up their roster with a staggering 15 picks in the NFL Draft, giving head coach Mike Zimmer the luxury of re-tooling his starting lineup with the absolute best players to make another deep run in the playoffs.
Here are three players that can win a starting job on the Vikings in 2020.
3. OT Ezra Cleveland
The expectation heading into this year's NFL Draft was there were going to be more than a handful of offensive tackles taken in the first round. Shockingly, Boise State's Ezra Cleveland dropped into the Vikings' lap at the 58th spot of the event. While Cleveland is projected to be a starting tackle in the NFL, it's going to be hard for the rookie to usurp Riley Reiff, mostly due to his lucrative contract. Luckily for Cleveland, he can easily take the left guard job away from the underwhelming Pat Elflein as early as the conclusion of training camp.
2. DT James Lynch
The Vikings have a bit of a problem in regards to their interior defensive line. Minnesota signed former Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Michael Pierce to be their starter, but there's a void at the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. Shamar Stephen was a non-factor last season, as he only recorded 21 tackles, two quarterback hits, and one sack in 15 games. Enter rookie James Lynch. The former Baylor Bear and reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the year is coming off a strong junior campaign, where he posted 41 tackles (19.5 for loss), 13.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. There's plenty of excitement in Minnesota regarding Lynch's potential, so don't be shocked if the fourth-round selection cracks the starting lineup.
1. DE DJ Wonnum
As we get closer to the eventual start of training camp, it appears less likely that Everson Griffen will re-up with the Vikings. Luckily for Zimmer, he has options to come off the edge. While Ifeadi Odenigbo was impressive off the bench last season (23 tackles, 13 quarterback hits, seven sacks), he could have some competition in the form of rookie DJ Wonnum. Last season at South Carolina, Wonnum recorded 37 tackles (9.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Wonnum created problems for George Bulldogs tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson (both first-round selections), as he recorded six tackles and half a sack. Wonnum has a decent shot to crack the starting lineup and create a dynamic tandem off the edge with Danielle Hunter.