5 riddles Mike Zimmer must solve at Vikings training camp in 2021

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Zimmer
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Zimmer /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Sheldon Richardson /

Sheldon Richardson’s role

Acquiring Sheldon Richardson in free agency was a power move by the Vikings and another substantial boost to their defensive line. This is an area of the field that was unrecognizable without Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Danielle Hunter, who missed the entire 2020 campaign with a neck injury that disintegrated Mike Zimmer’s pass-rush.

Much more is expected this time around. Hunter is back and looking like his explosive self, the Vikings picked up defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency and will also have the benefit of Michael Pierce on the interior after he opted-out last season due to COVID-19 health concerns.

Finding out what Richardson’s best role is going to be during the upcoming campaign will be something to keep a close eye on at camp. The lineman has done his best work on the interior since entering the league, but he’s also shifted to the edge with great success on occasions.

There does appear to be an open starting spot opposite Hunter at the defensive end spot. Unless D.J. Wonnum makes some incredible strides this offseason.

Having a versatile weapon such as Richardson, who is already familiar with what Zimmer demands, is a fantastic option for the Vikings. Expect him to be a notable contributor wherever he lines up on a front that should be an area of strength once again in 2021.