4 players the Vikings can feel more comfortable about in 2022

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ihmir Smith-Marsette
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ihmir Smith-Marsette /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports) Armon Watts /

Armon Watts – DL

The Vikings are switching to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ed Donatell. This comes with a significant amount of intrigue, and the coaching staff has the right sort of playing personnel to ensure this shift goes off without a hitch in 2022.

One individual that is likely to benefit more than most from this change is Armon Watts. The versatile defensive lineman made a big impact as part of the rotation last season en route to five sacks, and he looks set to occupy a starting berth as a 3-4 edge presence after impressing throughout the preparation period.

This represents a huge opportunity for Watts, who rose from a relatively unfancied sixth-round pick to carve out a solid role for himself. Having two productive figures alongside him on the front in Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips will help, with Danielle Hunter and free-agent signing Za’Darius Smith providing a significant pass-rushing threat from 3-4 outside linebacker roles.

Watts logged 56 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps last season. Something that could increase significantly in 2022 despite some young studs also hoping for additional playing time.

There is also plenty of incentive for Watts next season in the final year of his rookie deal. How he performs with extra responsibilities will likely determine his long-term future in Minnesota.