6 prospects the Vikings should target on Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Tyler Johnson
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Tyler Johnson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Willekes /

Kenny Willekes – DE (Michigan State)

Defensive end isn’t a primary need for the Vikings, but it is one where they need to improve the overall depth. They are set at the top with Danielle Hunter and Ifeadi Odenigbo. But if one of them were to get hurt, Minnesota would be in trouble.

The Vikings simply cannot rely on Eddie Yarbrough or Anthony Zettel to take on an expanded role and be productive. They’d be better off going with a rookie and an intriguing option who is still on the board is Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes.

Willekes isn’t going to wow anyone with his athletic ability. He’s 6-foot-3, 264 pounds, and he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.

He doesn’t move exceptionally well and he isn’t going to bend or twist his way past a blocker. What he is though is a high effort player who goes 100 percent during every single snap of the football.

Willekes was a walk-on at Michigan State and he had to work hard every single day to earn his job on the team. That mentality has stuck with him as he’s a fighter and a scrapper and he battles all the way until the whistle sounds. He is a football player plain and simple, and one who is all effort and energy.

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Minnesota needs to get another pass rusher on their roster and Willekes would be a great option in the fourth round or later. There’s no reason to doubt he wouldn’t work as hard as he did in college to become the best pro he can be.