Reviewing the Vikings rookies after the first quarter of the 2020 season

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Troy Dye /

Disappointing Rookies

Ezra Cleveland – OL


  • 3 games played
  • 0 offensive snaps

The Vikings grabbed Ezra Cleveland in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft to potentially be their left tackle of the future.

Initially, he wasn’t expected to help out much this season, but after Minnesota was shuffling around their offensive line and trying to figure out the best starting five during training camp this summer, there was talk that Cleveland could get moved to guard.

It ended up being attempted, but early returns on Cleveland’s performance weren’t great and he was running with the second and third-team offense during camp.

Cleveland has yet to see any snaps on offense, but he has played a little on special teams. With Dru Samia’s play at right guard making Pat Elflein look like the next Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings have little to lose by giving the second-round rookie a shot in the coming weeks.

Troy Dye – LB


  • 21 defensive snaps played
  • 0 tackles

Dye was thrust onto the scene early in the season when injury struck Anthony Barr. Despite playing 21 defensive snaps, Dye wasn’t able to register any tackles or any other defensive stats this season. He eventually got hurt himself and he was placed on injured reserve just like Barr.

Dye was primarily expected to be a big contributor on special teams this year, but there was some hope that he might see some snaps on defense and use his high-end athleticism to make some plays.

That’ll have to wait as Dye won’t be available until Week 6 at the earliest. Maybe then Minnesota will get some production out of their fourth-round linebacker.

James Lynch – DT


  • Inactive for every game

The Vikings defensive tackle depth chart isn’t exactly loaded with talent this season. There are some decent young players who have some potential and others who are veterans that have their own set of struggles.

When Minnesota took this penetrating defensive tackle in the fourth round earlier this year, many figured he’d at worst case have a role as a situational pass rusher this season. The dude hasn’t even been active yet and during training camp, there were doubts about him even make the team.

Lynch is arguably the most disappointing Vikings rookie so far this year and at this point, him seeing any meaningful snaps this season looks unlikely.

Top Vikings Rookie of the First Quarter

Justin Jefferson – WR

This is easy. Jefferson is on a historic pace for receiving yards by a Minnesota rookie and it appears the light is just beginning to come on for him. He is further ahead of any other Vikings rookie and he is without a doubt, Minnesota’s top rookie from the first quarter of the year.

Must Read. 5 most disappointing Vikings from Week 4. light

Jefferson should have some competition during the second quarter of the season from players like Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler, and D.J. Wonnum. But at this point, he’s the front runner to continue holding on to the title as the Vikings’ best rookie.