5 current Vikings players primed for a larger role in 2023

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Jalen Nailor
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Jalen Nailor /
2 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Asamoah /

Brian Asamoah – LB

As a rookie, Brian Asamoah had sparse playing time but made some splash plays when he was out there. His speed and overall athleticism could be a weapon for Brian Flores. Flores typically features two linebackers in the middle of his defense – one that flies around and handles things downhill and one that serves as a coverage guy against tight ends or running backs.

Whether Eric Kendricks returns next season or not, Asamoah should be utilized as the rangy linebacker that fills run gaps and plays sideline to sideline. With Pittsburgh last season, Flores was able to get three off-ball linebackers over 75 tackles in Devin Bush, Myles Jack, and Robert Spillane.

There is an avenue out there where the Vikings draft another athletic linebacker to mix in with Asamoah and let Eric Kendricks serve primarily as a coverage linebacker. Regardless of who lines up with him in the middle of the defense, Brian Asamoah should be a chess piece for the defense in his second season.

He only had 17 tackles as a rookie, but he came up with a crucial forced fumble and recovery late in the Week 16 win over the Giants. Despite just 119 defense snaps and 235 on special teams, Asamoah showed enough to warrant a bigger role. Ideally, he will be a starter heading into the season, but at the very least, he should be a consistent piece on defense.