What the Vikings can expect from their 2020 seventh-round picks

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Willekes
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Willekes /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Willekes /

Kenny Willekes – DE (Michigan State)

The pick of Kenny Willekes in the seventh round was arguably the biggest steal of the Vikings’ entire 2020 Draft. There were plenty of rumblings that this guy was going to go as high as the fourth round but he ultimately fell down the board. The reason he fell was likely because he isn’t a great athlete or has elite physical traits.

Willekes is 6-foot-3 and 264 pounds and ran a 4.87-second time in the 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. He definitely lacks explosion and will more often than not be physically outmatched by the guy attempting to block him. Where he wins is with pure effort and energy. Willekes is a former collegiate walk on and plays every snap like his job is on the line. He simply will not be out-worked by anyone and its that effort and determination that could make him successful in the NFL.

We should expect Willekes to not only make the Vikings 53 man roster but to have a role on defense this year as a situational pass rusher. The Vikings aren’t exactly deep at defensive end. They have Danielle Hunter and Ifeadi Odenigbo at the top, and behind them are a couple of journeyman veterans in Eddie Yarbrough and Anthony Zettel.

Willekes and fellow rookie D.J. Wonnum should have just a good of a chance of those guys at making the team if not a better one. The Minnesota Vikings usually keep at least four defensive ends on the roster, and sometimes five. Willekes’ dedicated work ethic should be enough for him to crack the 53 man roster and eventually work his way on to the field for meaningful snaps.