4 Vikings rookies who will make the biggest impact in 2021

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Patrick Jones II
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Patrick Jones II /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Patrick Jones II /

Patrick Jones II – DE

  • Third Round – No. 90 overall

Getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks is going to be crucial for the Vikings if they want to make a return to the playoffs next season. This was once considered an area of real strength, but the departure of Everson Griffen and the long-term injury to Danielle Hunter made things extremely difficult and the whole defense suffered last time out.

This should revert to type next season. Hunter is coming back to health, the Vikings now boast Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson on the interior, and in Patrick Jones II they acquired a dynamic edge rusher capable of taking over a game.

Jones is a high-motor individual that has the physicality and strength to match. Whether he will get the starting job or not remains to be seen, but if the former Pittsburgh star does do enough for a starting gig, then there should be plenty of space to work thanks to the presence of three dominant veterans on the defensive front.

The incoming rookie accumulated nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss during his final season at Pitt in 2020. Placing him opposite Hunter on the line of scrimmage is a mouth-watering prospect and one Minnesota should consider from Day 1 given the other options available on the depth chart.