5 Vikings players who could be cut before taking a snap in 2021

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Tye Smith
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Tye Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Kenny Willekes /

Kenny Willekes – DE

Kenny Willekes is a bit of a fan favorite who fans didn’t get to see a season ago. The reason he’s so well-liked is because of how hard he’s had to work to get where he is. Willekes walked on at Michigan State, and eventually earned a scholarship. He then overcame a devastating leg injury in 2018 on his way to a 10-sack senior season.

The guy is all effort and motor which makes up for a lot of his lack of elite physical talent and athleticism. Many fans were hoping he’d make the final roster last season, but he was hurt in the team’s scrimmage, and then placed on injured reserve. He was on the roster bubble before suffering that injury and it could’ve been a blessing in disguise, as it kept his career in purple going.

This year, the defensive end depth chart will be a much tougher nut to crack for Willekes. He has to compete with D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones II, Janarious Robinson, and even Jordan Brailford who flashed at times in 2020. Jalyn Holmes is also in the mix, and newly signed Sheldon Richardson is rumored to take snaps at defensive end.

It is going to take a very impressive training camp and preseason for Willekes to earn a spot. He’s overcome impossible odds in his past, but at this point, it looks like Willekes may never play a game that counts with that glorious white horn on the side of a purple helmet.