5 weakest starters on the Minnesota Vikings 2020 roster

(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) Pat Elflein
(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) Pat Elflein /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Shamar Stephen /

Shamar Stephen – DT

Shamar Stephen is currently slated to start opposite Michael “Juggernaut” Pierce in the middle of the Vikings defensive line. If Stephen plans on keeping that job throughout the preseason, he’ll need to show a lot more than he did as a starter in 2019.

Stephen returned to Minnesota last season after a year with the Seattle Seahawks and his performance can only be considered a major disappointment.

For a guy who was supposed to be a run stuffer, opponents seemed to have no trouble moving him around. He had just 21 tackles last season and the Vikings run defense ended up not being among the best in the league.

Stephen currently lines up as the three-technique defensive tackle for Minnesota. That role in Mike Zimmer’s defense typically calls for the player to provide interior pressure. Stephen is clearly not cut out for that job either as he has just four career sacks and he had only one in 2019.

The Vikings, fortunately, have some young talent like Armon Watts, James Lynch, and even Jaleel Johnson who should push Stephen for his starting job. Minnesota needs to be able to generate that interior push with their defensive line and if Stephen can’t do it, they need to find the guy who can.