Minnesota Vikings: 5 training camp battles to watch in 2020

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson /
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(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson /

Minnesota Vikings Battle No. 5: Starting 3-Technique

Ever since defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson left the building, the Vikings have been desperate to find a quality 3-technique. They replaced Linval Joseph with Michael Pierce in free agency, but Pierce is strictly a nose tackle for the Vikings. That still leaves an opening next to him on the interior of the defensive line.

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Hercules Mata’afa has been an interesting player for the Vikings and has served as a nice rotational player. This could be the year he steps up as the starter, but he likely will not be a consistent force who can play a ton of snaps.

Jalyn Holmes has yet to prove himself due to a lack of playing time, but his rare appearances have been promising. If he can get through the summer without injury setbacks, he will be able to once again compete for playing time.

Jaleel Johnson has been another player who hasn’t quite become a quality starter in the NFL but he has some experience. However, Johnson is better suited to be the backup to Pierce at nose tackle who can play situationally for the Vikings.

The name to really watch in camp is fourth-round pick James Lynch out of Baylor. Lynch is a pass-rushing interior lineman who can bring a nice blend of speed and power to the Vikings’ front four. His upside is through the ceiling for being a fourth-round selection back in April.

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The Vikings have a lot of quality depth on the interior defensive line but lack a true starting 3-technique. Let’s see if they can break that trend and find a starter during training camp this summer.