5 early contenders to be the Vikings first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) Trey Lance
(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) Trey Lance /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Joseph Ossai /

Joseph Ossai – DE/OLB (Texas)

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Vikings have some serious questions to answer on the defensive side of the ball.

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer freely admitted that the 2020 defense was the worst unit he’s ever coached and it might be losing a couple more key veteran pieces during free agency that they cannot afford to keep around.

One area the Vikings particularly struggled with this past season was generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This was down in no small part to Danielle Hunter‘s injury that forced him to miss the entire season, but more will be needed moving forward.

Joseph Ossai is an athletic freak who has come on leaps and bounds in 2020. He is a relentless force off the edge and he has the sort of body that is only going to grow in stature once he gets to the next level.

Ossai has the versatility to play at outside linebacker or as a defensive end, which is where Minnesota could use a spark. Pinning him down to one position will do wonders for his overall development and his physical attributes are sure to generate some substantial interest from Zimmer during the evaluation process.

With 11.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss, there is plenty to work with where Ossai is concerned and his name should be high on the Vikings’ shortlist.