Defensive end is also a huge need on the Vikings’ defense. The future is murky on Danielle Hunter. He is under contract but is coming off an injury-shortened season after missing an entire year prior to that. He will also demand a huge salary after the season and the new management could decide he’s too expensive and injury-prone to keep and look to ship him to the highest suitor.
Everson Griffen will be gone after being signed to a one-year deal and Sheldon Richardson is likely to depart, and that leaves nothing but question marks on the depth chart.
D.J. Wonnum did have eight sacks on the season, but was wildly inconsistent and was a liability against the run. The jury is out on Patrick Jones who only played sparingly and Janarius Robinson missed the entire season after being placed on injured reserve. Kenny Willekes flashed some potential and should definitely be kept as a rotational piece.
The team needs to find someone who can either play opposite Hunter or be the team’s primary pass rusher. Improving the pass rush helps every level of the defense, especially the secondary. Some guys who could give the team an instant boost would be Michigan’s David Ojabo or Purdue’s George Karlaftis. If either is on the board, taking a defensive end could be the team’s move at pick No. 12.