Dec 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison (96) sacks St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Positional Breakdown: Defensive End

Defensive end was not a heavily targeted position in the draft. But the Vikings did make a minor free agent move there and have a little different mix than last season. Let’s break down the depth chart as it stands.

1. Jared Allen

The Vikings are seemingly not interested in extending his contract. That makes this a walk year for Jared. Look for him to be extra-motivated with free agency coming up. Everyone thinks he slipped last year so he has something to prove. He is coming off shoulder surgery as well. If he can stay healthy, and if the Vikes are willing to give him the vast majority of the snaps as in the past, this could be a monster stat year for Allen again. Probably not as monster as the year he posted 22 sacks though.

2. Brian Robison

Has settled in as a pretty good defensive end. He’s still not great against the run but he’s developed his pass rush skills nicely and he’s added the bat-down to his repertoire. I really don’t expect any kind of breakout season from him. He will be solid again but not spectacular.

3. Everson Griffen

Alan Williams knows this guy needs to be on the field one way or another. Whether that means taking snaps at defensive end, or at nose tackle in certain situations or even getting a look at linebacker now and again. He is a playmaker.

4. Lawrence Jackson

The former Lion should get his fair share of action in what figures to be an 8-man rotation on the defensive line.

5. D’Aundre Reed

He’s entering his third year and still doesn’t really have a role. It will be a struggle for him to make the team out of camp. Crowded on that D-line and it’s hard to see what he brings that makes him stand out.


Marquis Jackson
George Johnson
Collins Ukwu

Are the Vikes better off than last year?

On paper you have to say yes. Last year they really had only three reliable defensive ends and this year they should have four. That will allow Alan Williams to spell Jared Allen more often. This probably won’t sit well with Jared as he tries to rack up stats in a contract year but it’s not about Jared’s money it’s about the team. The Vikes loaded up on defensive linemen for a reason. They want to implement the hockey rotation approach. The Jackson signing gives them the bodies necessary to do that.

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  • 3kolu

    And with the implementation of a hockey style rotation it takes out the importance of having 1 dominant DE rather than a fresh bunch of legs every other rotation. Depth becomes the motivating factor and the Vikings have it. I really like the Lawrence Jackson acquisition. I’m hoping the Vikes can keep a majority of their DE’s on contract especially Everson Griffen who’s about to become an elite member of the DE fraternity and on his way up. It looks like Robison should be financially attainable therefore leaving Jared Allen the biggest question mark. No ways the Vikings pay him 5 figures next year, but if they can retain him at a reasonable price, I’m convinced he has 2-4 good years remaining, double digit sacks and competent run support as always.