10 bold predictions for the 2022 Minnesota Vikings
By Chris Schad
Patrick Jones II will have more sacks than Za’Darius Smith
The 2021 draft class has been a disaster and in no place has that been more evident than in the third round. Out of the four picks the Vikings had in that round, Patrick Jones II is the lone survivor and could be poised to show why this season.
Jones excelled as a pass-rusher in college, racking up 17.5 sacks in his final two seasons at Pittsburgh. While he didn’t see the field much as a rookie, he showed some of his potential this preseason, logging six pressures on 42 pass rushing snaps according to Pro Football Focus.
Jones won’t have a true breakout playing behind Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, but he could take off if one of them goes down with an injury.
If we’re taking bets, there’s a good chance that Smith is the one who winds up on the injured list. He missed 16 games last season due to a herniated disc in his back and there’s a possibility that Smith could aggravate that injury at some point this season.
It’s why the Baltimore Ravens agreed to sign Smith earlier this offseason but backed out at the 11th hour. If Smith can’t stay healthy, Jones has a chance to make a name for himself this season.