The battle for the three-tech defensive tackle
When it comes to the defensive tackle spot, the one big lock is Linval Joseph. You can probably also throw the returning Shamar Stephen into the mix, but after “The Big Fundamental”, the battle for the three-tech spot is wide open entering the first preseason game.
There is plenty of opportunity and unique talents that could step up and be a factor in the Vikings pass-rushing packages this year. While a late bloomer like sixth-round pick Armon Watts is going to be on everyone’s mind, it’s also not wise to sleep on Hercules Mata’afa, who bulked up to 280 pounds after tearing his ACL in last year’s minicamp.
Even with some intriguing new faces, some faces of old could also step forward as Jaleel Johnson and Jalyn Holmes will need to show they’ve learned something from their past seasons to carve out a role on this team.
Due to injuries, Joseph and Stephen may not start in Friday’s game for the Vikings. Even if this turns out to be true, the real fun should begin inside the trenches for Minnesota once the reserves get on the field.