Patrick Jones II – DE/OLB
One could have forgiven Patrick Jones II for being a little nervous about his status once news started emerging about the Vikings’ new regime culling the 2021 draft class ruthlessly.
The likes of Janarius Robinson, Kellen Mond, Wyatt Davis, and Jaylen Twyman were let go after just one season. Ihmir Smith-Marsette was also removed from the equation once their trade for Jalen Reagor was confirmed.
Jones would have been anxiously awaiting a phone call as a result. But the Vikings saw enough in the edge rusher to keep him around despite featuring just nine times as a rookie.
The former third-round pick has enough explosiveness to make an impression on the rotation when called upon. Minnesota’s switch to a 3-4 defense is something else working in Jones’ favor in the event Daniell Hunter or Za’Darius Smith miss time.
Now that the Pittsburgh product has his spot confirmed, Jones needs to become more influential. This is entirely possible for a player that attained 32 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks in college.
If Jones cannot make improvements, then the Vikings won’t hesitate to look elsewhere given their overall opinion on the final group of college prospects taken by Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman.