Of all the positions on the Minnesota Vikings’ roster, there might not be one stronger than the defensive end position. Of course, in today’s National Football League you can never have enough pass rushers off the edge, and the Vikings have that. It would be surprising if the purple used one of their earlier picks on a defensive end, but they might be looking for one more guy as depth in the later rounds.
Here’s a look at who the Vikings currently have at defensive end on the roster, based on the team’s website.
The Top Dog - Everson Griffen
Since signing a big-time contract to take over for Jared Allen at the Vikings’ right defensive end spot, Griffen has been among the NFL’s best pass rushers. He’s averaged ten sacks a year since becoming a starter, and his speed and athleticism have allowed him to make some pretty nice plays against the run, too. Sure, he has at least one ridiculous offsides penalty every few weeks or so, but the good for #97 has far, far outweighed the bad thus far.
The Old Warhorse - Brian Robison
Robison is now the longest-tenured member of the Minnesota Vikings, having been with the team since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2007. He really hasn’t started slowing down that much, though he has acknowledged that his time with the team is coming to an end. He signed a one-year contract extension that ties him to the Vikings until 2018, and he said he’s likely going to hang it up after that. Robison’s ability to kick inside in pass rushing situations has been a great thing for the Vikings, and will continue to be given the ascendance of the next guy on our list.
The Young Stallion - Danielle Hunter
Hunter led the Vikings in sacks last season. . .and did so while playing less than half of the team’s defensive snaps. Oh, and he’s all of 22 years old. One NFL pundit has said that if the 2015 NFL Draft were to be re-done today, Hunter would be a Top-3 overall selection. He’s a prime example of what the Vikings’ defensive coaching staff can do if they’re given a raw and explosive talent to work with, as they’ve molded Hunter into one of the better young defensive talents in the entire National Football League. Robison himself has said that it’s time to get #99 on the field more often, and I have a feeling he’s going to be an absolute terror this season.
The Promotee - Stephen Weatherly
Weatherly got the call to the active roster late last season when a team. . .which, reportedly, turned out to be the New England Patriots. . .was sniffing around and considering signing Weatherly to their active roster. A seventh-round pick in last year’s draft, Weatherly is highly athletic and spent most of his time in college in a two-point stance, but is getting adjusted to playing with his hand on the ground in the NFL. As things currently sit, he would probably be the fourth defensive end, which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.
The Missed Opportunity - B.J. Dubose
Since being drafted in the sixth round in 2015, Dubose hasn’t done a whole lot for the Vikings. He spent almost all of 2015 on the practice squad, getting called to the active roster for the Vikings’ playoff game that year. He followed that up by tearing an ACL in offseason workouts last season and going on injured reserve. I’m not sure how much of a shot Dubose has to contribute to the Vikings going forward, as I would think he’s clearly the #5 guy on a team that generally carries four defensive ends.
That’s a look at who the Vikings currently have on the roster at the defensive end position. Next up, we’ll take a look at some of the players that the team could potentially look at in this year’s draft at the position.