4 Vikings players who could emerge as alphas in 2021

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson /
3 of 5
Minnesota Vikings
(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) Michael Pierce /

Michael Pierce – DT

Not having Michael Pierce available was a bitter blow for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020. The defensive tackle opted out of the season due to COVID-19 health concerns after joining from the Baltimore Ravens, which left them dangerously short of viable options in the hope of replacing Linval Joseph.

This was one of the primary reasons behind Minnesota’s defense taking a significant step back last time out. Head coach Mike Zimmer won’t want the same pattern to emerge during the upcoming campaign and the team invested heavily in free agency to give them the best possible chance of turning things around.

Pierce coming back into the fold is a massive boost. He will be assisted by the arrival of Dalvin Tomlinson from the New York Giants, which should sure up their run defense considerably moving forward.

Hopefully, the situation with star defensive end Danielle Hunter can resolve in a positive manner where Minnesota is concerned. Otherwise, it’s going to come with some pretty big ramifications and pile more pressure on Pierce and others to come up with the goods.

There is a case of making up for lost time where Pierce is concerned. It’s been a while since he last saw the field in a competitive setting and if he can adjust well, the sky is the limit.