5 Vikings players facing a make-or-break training camp in 2021

(Photo by Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports) Stephen Weatherly
(Photo by Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports) Stephen Weatherly /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Stephen Weatherly /

Stephen Weatherly – DE

To say things didn’t go according to plan for Stephen Weatherly following his move to the Carolina Panthers in free agency last year would be a massive understatement. The defensive end failed to hit the ground running and became an obvious liability from a starting spot before an injury ended his campaign early in Week 9.

Weatherly was cut loose ahead of time by the Panthers this offseason with one year remaining on his deal. The Vikings wasted no time in bringing him back on a short-term deal, which could see the former Vanderbilt star become a solid piece of the rotation once again.

This is a role Weatherly thrived in before opting to join Carolina. His familiarity with Mike Zimmer’s scheme is something else that should serve him well at training camp.

However, the task awaiting Weatherly is a steep one.

Minnesota has some talented young edge rushers who are all looking to stake their claim. The likes of D.J. Wonnum, Janarius Robinson, and Patrick Jones II have a tremendous amount going for them, and Weatherly might just have his work cut out beating out these youngsters for playing time.

Zimmer clearly loves Weatherly, even if they couldn’t match the money he received from the Panthers last year.

If Weatherly can return to the player of old, then the Vikings will benefit. But that is far from a guarantee at this juncture.