5 Minnesota Vikings who belong on Santa’s naughty list

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Marwan Maalouf
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Marwan Maalouf /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Shamar Stephen /

Shamar Stephen – DT

The Vikings knew they were in trouble when it came to stopping the run in 2020 when newly signed defensive tackle, Michael Pierce, announced he was opting out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

This left Shamar Stephen as Minnesota’s primary run stuffer and it was worth arguing that he might have been cut in the preseason had Pierce not taken the season off.

While the Vikings and their fans hoped that Stephen could regain his 2017 form, that just hasn’t happened. The guy is on the field to stuff the run and Minnesota has ranked in the bottom half of the league in that area all season long.

Stephen just doesn’t have the burst off the ball to get the upper hand on interior blockers. He has been pushed out of the way far too often this season and the Vikings have given up an average of about 120 yards on the ground a game.

This has been a major issue for a Minnesota defense that was already rolling the dice with a young cornerback group. The fact they allow opponents to be able to move the ball on the ground and in the air has resulted in this unit giving up over 27 points a game.

The Vikings offense has been good, but it can’t be counted on every week to score over 27 points. The defense has been a major failure this season and Stephen’s struggles in stopping the run have been a big part of that.