Jaelan Phillips – DE (Miami Dolphins)
Against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12, we saw a decimated version of the Vikings defensive line as they took the field without Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Michael Pierce. The lack of talent in the trenches was definitely a big factor against the 49ers as Minnesota’s defense gave up 208 yards on the ground during their loss this past weekend.
Things probably aren’t going to get much better for the Vikings defensive line this year, especially on the edges, as Hunter is out for the season, and it’s still unknown if Griffen will return to the field at all this year.
Had Minnesota decided to use their 2021 first-round pick on former Miami pass rusher Jaelan Phillips, then there likely wouldn’t be as many worries about the current and future versions of the Vikings defensive line as there are right now.
Phillips got off to a bit of a slow start this season as he adjusted to the pros. But during the last few weeks, he’s really come on strong with five sacks and 13 pressures in his last four games.
Selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 18 pick in the 2021 draft, Phillips is coming off of a dominating performance against the Carolina Panthers in which he racked up a total of four tackles (three for a loss), four quarterback hits, three sacks, and seven pressures.
If the Vikings had used their top pick in this year’s draft on Phillips, then they probably don’t even end up signing Griffen before the start of the season. Plus, the rookie would help make up for the loss of Hunter this year, and Phillips might even make it easier for Minnesota to part ways with their Pro Bowl defensive end in 2022.