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 /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images) Khyiris Tonga /

Khyiris Tonga – IDL

Not long after the season wrapped up, the Vikings announced that they signed Khyiris Tonga to a contract for next season after picking him up midway through the 2022 season. Tonga came to Minnesota off of the Falcons’ practice squad and appeared in 11 games.

Dalvin Tomlinson’s future with the team is up in the air, leaving a major question mark at the front of the defense. Tonga is a worthy candidate to replace those snaps or play next to Tomlinson in running situations.

The BYU product made a name for himself with his absurd play strength and ability to wreck plays up the middle. Adding that sort of impact to this defense could solve serious problems in the run game and, in turn, make things easier for everyone behind the defensive line.

He only played 36 percent of the snaps with the Vikings last season, but Tonga is due for a big uptick in 2023. Getting more from him would make the need for an interior defensive lineman an afterthought in the NFL Draft and would allow the Vikings to address other areas of need.

Minnesota has the pieces to rotate up front and keep fresh legs in the game to clean up the run defense. Tonga, along with Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips, would give the Vikings a beefy front line.