Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has officially announced an open tryout for the third and final starting linebacker position. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks not-so-secretly compose two-thirds of the Vikings’ starting rotation — but the third and final spot is officially up for grabs.
Veterans Emmanuel Lamur and Edmond Robinson both have starting experience, but neither has been recognized as a strong candidate to win the job.
When asked which of the two former role players would ultimately receive a promotion to the weak-side linebacker position vacated by Chad Greenway’s retirement this offseason, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer responded with a noncommittal answer, effectively leaving the job up for grabs this summer:[quote_center]”We’re going to look at all the guys in there. So, like I said before, Edmond has had a couple good days here the last couple days. I think he’s feeling more comfortable with it, so, we’ll just see. You know I’m not opposed to one of these younger guys if they end up being the guy.”[/quote_center]
Lamur, who has been absent from on-field OTA workouts for the majority of the past week, has inadvertently conceded the initial first-team reps of the positional battle to Robinson. It does appear however that Zimmer will give both Lamur and Robinson as well as rookies Ben Gedeon and Elijah Lee the chance to win the role this summer.
Potential Starters At WLB:
- Emmanuel Lamur – Age 27 (6’4″ 245 lbs.).
- Edmond Robinson – Age 25 (6’3″ 245 lbs.)
- Elijah Lee – Age 21 (6’2″ 229 lbs.)
- Kentrell Brothers – Age 24 (6’1″ 242 lbs.)
- Ben Gedeon – Age 22 (6’2″ 244 lbs.)
- Eric Wilson – Age 23 (6’2″ 225 lbs.)
- Shaan Washington – Age 23 (6’3″ 220 lbs.)
Cincinnati’s Erik Wilson and Texas A&M’s Shaan Washington are both undrafted free-agent signings that may need a surprise trade and/or release to make the initial 53-man team. Removing said players from the equation makes five players — Lamur, Robinson, Gedeon, Lee and Brothers — could all potentially become the eventual successor to Greenway in Zimmer’s Base 4-3 defensive alignment.
The youngest player of the group, 2017 7th-round pick Elijah Lee, will begin his career out of Kansas State at just 21 years of age. Fellow Day 3 selection and former Michigan linebacker Ben Gedeon is the second youngest at only 22 years old and is followed on the list by the 24-year-old Brothers, a fifth-round selection during the 2016 draft.
If one of these “young guys” wins the role to begin the season and is subsequently able to excel under Zimmer’s tutelage, Minnesota could boast one of the most formidable NFL linebacker trios for years to come.