4 Vikings players the team shouldn’t give up on yet

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ifeadi Odenigbo
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ifeadi Odenigbo /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) James Lynch – Minnesota Vikings /

James Lynch – DT

James Lynch was another underwhelming rookie from the 2020 class. He was coming off a collegiate season where he racked up 13.5 sacks and was seen as a player who could create that interior pressure the middle of the Vikings’ defense was lacking.

Lynch was brought along slowly and didn’t see any action until week 5. He flashed with a beautiful bull rush in that game, pushing the guard back into Russell Wilson getting his first NFL Sack. Unfortunately, that is where he peaked on the season, and we didn’t see much of anything else from Lynch despite the issues the Vikings had in the middle of their defensive line. Lynch finished his rookie season with just three tackles on the season and that lone sack.

While Lynch’s stats were underwhelming, he should get every shot to win a starting job during the preseason. He can be explosive off the ball and just needs more coaching up. Hopefully, the experience he did get in 2020 helps him realize the areas he has to work on.

The Vikings will be losing Jaleel Johnson in free agency and Shamar Stephen should also be cut. Michael Pierce will come back from opting out, and he can be the run stuffer. The Vikings could look to add a three-technique in free agency but will almost assuredly add a few during the draft.

Lynch can compete with those guys, and if he emerges as the best option, then great, but after seeing how this guy fared in year one, that looks like a long shot at best.