Kenny Willekes – DE
Sure he was a seventh-round pick, but this was a player who many projected to go higher. Kenny Willekes fell in the draft due to a lack of overall athletic ability, but he’s a hard-working, high character guy, whose motor doesn’t stop.
Many figured the Vikings got a steal with this former Michigan State Spartan and he was someone who could make the team’s final roster this year despite his low draft billing.
Willekes did have his moments in camp this summer for Minnesota. He got some reps with the second-team and he was able to get pressure on the quarterback. Unfortunately, he left the Vikings’ recent scrimmage on crutches, but the extent of his injury hasn’t been publically revealed as of this point.
The injury could actually be a blessing in disguise for Willekes and Minnesota. The way things were going, he looked like he was a pretty big long shot to make the final roster this year.
He had players like Eddie Yarbrough and D.J. Wonnum ahead of him on the depth chart, and the Vikings’ recent trade for Yannick Ngakoue pushed him down even further.
Minnesota was always wary of trying to stash this guy on the practice squad, as another team could come in and snap him up. Now they can choose to place him on injured reserve, keep his rights for a year, and not worry about trying to sneak him through waivers.
Willekes is a player the Vikings can develop and he could turn into an asset down the road. Just don’t expect to see much from him in 2020.