Minnesota Vikings Player No. 2: DE Kenny Willekes
The Vikings defensive end battle will be an interesting one to watch in camp this preseason. Obviously, the top of the depth chart is set with Danielle Hunter and Ifeadi Odenigbo. It’s who the Vikings keep after those two that is the question.
Behind the two projected starters is where the competition will be. There are two veterans on the roster in Eddie Yarbrough and Anthony Zettel, and a couple of rookies in D.J. Wonnum and Kenny Willekes.
Of these four, Wonnum is very likely to make the team, as defensive coordinator Andre Patterson is apparently the reason the Vikings took him in Round 4. Wonnum will be Patterson’s pet and will make the team no matter how bad he looks.
So it’ll be three players battling for one spot if the Vikings keep four defensive ends like they usually do. Yarbrough doesn’t have much more experience than Willekes and is a long shot. The Vikings could be choosing between having a veteran presence on the depth chart in Zettel or going with a rookie with upside in Willekes.
Willekes lacks elite physical traits but is a high-energy, high-effort player who will work his tail off every single snap of the ball. Though he fell to the seventh round, he’s the kind of player teams love to have on the roster because of his high work ethic.
If he becomes a free agent after the preseason, even for just a day, he could have a hot market and be singed before the Minnesota Vikings can get him on their practice squad.