Grading every Minnesota Vikings position group from the 2020 season

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Jalyn Holmes /

Defensive Line

For how much flack the offensive line got this year, the defensive line was a million times worse. Of course, for the Vikings to be without Danielle Hunter this year was bad. But then when you add in a busted trade for Yannick Ngakoue that lasted only six weeks, it gets even worse.

More disgusting is that Ngakoue still finished the 2020 regular season as Minnesota’s leader in sacks with five. Ifeadi Odenigbo and D.J. Wonnum were the only other defensive linemen to have three or more sacks for the Vikings this year, which has to be frustrating, especially when the pressure could have really helped the team’s young secondary.

The lack of pressure was atrocious, but the complete inability to stop runs up the gut was just as atrocious. Not having Michael Pierce available after he opted out of the season was tough, but seeing the struggles of Jaleel Johnson and Shamar Stephen should cause Minnesota’s front office to evaluate whether it’s worth it or not to bring either of them back in 2021.

There are a few players who give some hope for the future of the Vikings defensive line. Hercules Mata’afa, James Lynch, and Armon Watts all showed some potential along with Wonnum to grow into an impactful role for the team.

Still, the defensive line has to be considered the most disappointing unit for Minnesota this season, as well as the worst. The Vikings can’t allow anything like this to take the field next season.

2020 Grade: F