Former coach says Vikings rookie pass rusher could start in 2021

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Patrick Jones II
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Patrick Jones II /

Could rookie defensive end Patrick Jones II end up in the starting lineup for the Minnesota Vikings during the upcoming 2021 season?

One of the biggest moments from the last few months for the Minnesota Vikings was when their top defensive end, Danielle Hunter, decided to attend the team’s minicamp.

Hunter’s future with the Vikings was up in the air for a little bit, but his attendance at minicamp ensured the team that he will be on the field for them during the upcoming season. Now, Minnesota just has to figure out who is going to line up on the opposite end of Hunter on the team’s starting defensive line.

The Vikings have multiple options to choose from and it’s entirely possible that they will explore more than one player in the role throughout the 2021 campaign.

Will rookie Patrick Jones II emerge as the other starting defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings?

A few months ago in the 2021 NFL Draft, Minnesota decided to use one of their four picks in the third round on former Pittsburgh defensive end Patrick Jones II.

Jones is actually the first defensive end selected in the third round or higher by the Vikings since 2015 when they used a pick in the third round to grab Hunter.

Given where Minnesota drafted him, the team obviously believes he has a lot of potential. Will Jones be able to show enough during training camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the Vikings starting defense this year?

One of his former college coaches believes the Minnesota rookie is certainly capable of cracking the starting lineup in 2021.

During a recent conversation with the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, Pittsburgh defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said that Jones has “the ability to [start as a rookie]. He’s certainly got the willingness to put in additional time,” and that the young pass rusher just “needs to weather the storm of learning the playbook.”

During his last two seasons at Pittsburgh, Jones racked up 17.5 sacks and 24 tackles for a loss. The competition for the Vikings’ other starting defensive end spot feels pretty wide open as the team opens training camp this week.

Must Read. 3 dream trade targets for the Vikings in 2022. light

Will Jones prove his former coach right and begin the 2021 season in Minnesota’s starting lineup?