5 candidates to be the Vikings starting defensive end in 2021

D.J. Wonnum (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) Stephen Weatherly /

Stephen Weatherly

Returning to the Minnesota Vikings on a one-year deal worth $2.5M, Stephen Weatherly has the chance to return to a starting lineup after struggling to impress last season with the Carolina Panthers.

Weatherly started nine games last year and didn’t record a sack in 358 defensive snaps. With such a lack of production, it wasn’t shocking that Carolina moved on from him and allowed him to hit free agency this offseason.

Minnesota has a good reason to be interested in his services. The defensive end registered three sacks each in 2018 and 2019 with the purple and gold and is familiar with Mike Zimmer and the team’s defensive schemes.

He wouldn’t be an exciting player to start, but having Weatherly be essentially the floor for what to expect as the potential for the team’s second starting defensive end isn’t the worst thing in the world. It can’t be worse than last year for Weatherly or the Vikings, right?