5 young Vikings players to watch closely at 2021 training camp

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kellen Mond
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kellen Mond /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) D.J. Wonnum – Minnesota Vikings /

D.J. Wonnum – DE

It was a hugely disappointing season from a defensive standpoint where the Vikings were concerned in 2020. However, the encouraging strides made by D.J. Wonnum down the stretch was a rare bright spot.

Generating pressure without the presence of Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter flying off the edge was difficult for the Vikings last season. It’s worth remembering that Everson Griffen also left the franchise last summer to further diminish their options.

Wonnum was a fourth-round pick that had some upside coming out of South Carolina. He was allowed to develop at his own pace, which definitely helped. His performances over the final few games indicated more might be to come with further improvements this offseason.

The Vikings brought in Janarius Robinson and Patrick Jones II to boost depth at the defensive end position during the draft. Stephen Weatherly also returned after one year on the Carolina Panthers, but his lack of production as a starter under Matt Rhule is a cause for concern.

Watching Wonnum at training camp and the preseason will tell us just what improvements he’s made away from the gridiron. If Minnesota’s coaching staff likes what they see, then expect him to start opposite Hunter from the word go.