Who will emerge as the third linebacker for the Vikings this season?
The Minnesota Vikings selected former Oregon linebacker Troy Dye in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dye joins a deep group of young linebackers fighting for playing time this season. Two veterans also return to the roster in Eric Wilson and Ben Gedeon, who have split playing time for a few years now.
In 2019, Wilson took over as the third linebacker and made plenty of his opportunity. He finished with 62 tackles, three sacks, and six tackles for loss, all career highs. Gedeon, on the other hand, only appeared in eight games and recorded just 13 tackles.
With Wilson proving his worth in his third NFL season, he appears to have the edge as Minnesota’s No. 3 linebacker when the 2020 season kicks off. His production and recognition have improved greatly since he joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2017.
As a reward for his minor break out in 2019 season, the Vikings re-signed Wilson with a one-year deal this spring to keep him in purple. With a team-friendly contract, however, he may be a casualty if Minnesota sees enough from rookie Troy Dye in training camp.
Dye, a coverage linebacker with plenty of speed and range, can make a name for himself as the Vikings reshape their defense. With a complete overhaul of the secondary underway, Zimmer may utilize his linebackers in coverage more than ever this year.
Perhaps Minnesota wants to get Anthony Barr involved off the edge, as has been rumored every single summer since he entered the league.