5 candidates to be the Vikings starting defensive end in 2021

D.J. Wonnum (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
D.J. Wonnum (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Patrick Jones II /

Patrick Jones II

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Patrick Jones II. The 6’6, 261-pound pass rusher out of Pitt was a pass-rushing machine who consistently got better as his college career went on.

His final year in the NCAA saw him record nine sacks and a total of 12.5 tackles for a loss to go with three pass defenses and one fumble recovery in 11 games plays. That should have opened the eyes of the Vikings, who spent a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft on him.

Throwing a rookie into the starting rotation unless he seems ready isn’t wise. However, there are several instances where a young player can be ready to shine rather quickly and take on a big role for a team as a backup or rotational player until they are prepared for a starting role.

2021 should be a big season for Jones whether he starts or not. He will likely be high on the team’s depth chart based on potential alone and it would be wise for the Minnesota Vikings to get him some regular-season experience as a rookie.