In a draft that is so thick with talent along the defensive line, most, if not all, teams will have to seriously consider all options at defensive line in round one this year.
As of right now, the Vikings have a pretty solid trio of defensive ends with Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, and Stephen Weatherly. At defensive tackle, Minnesota currently has Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson, and Jalyn Holmes under contract for 2019 as Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson are set to hit free agency this offseason.
There have been some questions about Griffen’s future in Minnesota. If by chance the Vikings opt to move on from him, defensive end depth will become a much bigger need.
Wheatherly has proven he can be a starting defensive end in the NFL, but that would leave Minnesota with only Tashawn Bower and not much else for pass-rushing depth next season.
When it comes to defensive tackle, Richardson will be the main focus for the Vikings this offseason. Him coming back will weigh heavily on how much of a need this spot becomes for Minnesota this year.
Johnson has yet to show much on the field and Holmes saw little to no action in his rookie year. If the Vikings can’t manage to bring Richardson back, defensive tackle will become a top three need heading into the 2019 draft.
But even if he does come back for next season, don’t be surprised if Minnesota still addresses this position at least once during the draft.
Potential First-Round DL Targets:
Christian Wilkins – DT (Clemson)
Ed Oliver – DT (Houston)
Clelin Ferrell – DE (Clemson)