Dark Horse Vikings that Could Snag a Roster Spot in 2023: Defense

Dark Horse Vikings
Iowa junior center Tyler Linderbaum battles Illinois junior defensive lineman Calvin Avery during a drive in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. 20211120 Iowavsillinois

Rookies report to Vikings training camp in just three days.. As the first official day of camp continues to inch closer, we are going to take a peek at some of the dark horse Vikings that could find their way onto the 53-man roster when the dust settles. This time around, we are sticking with the defense, listing three players to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

DL Calvin Avery

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The Vikings lost Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency this offseason, and he was the one true star in the middle of Minnesota’s defensive line last season. Now, the team has a number of questions regarding the depth up front.

That bodes well for someone like Calvin Avery, who is a truly massive player at the nose tackle position. The Illinois product stands at 6’1 and 340 pounds, and he eats up a lot of space in the middle of the trenches while generating tons of power against opposing offenses.

LB William Kwenkeu

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LB William Kwenkeu spent the 2022 season on the Vikings practice squad, and he saw just 13 snaps with the defense during his rookie year. However, if Brian Flores wants to keep young, athletic players in the depth of his linebacker room (similarly to how he built his Miami Dolphins defenses), Kwenkeu is certainly someone to keep an eye on.

The Temple product recorded 10.5 TFLs during his final collegiate season, and while Troy Reeder may have been signed during free agency, he saw his playing time plummet in 2022 with the Chargers. In addition, it saves Minnesota more money to get rid of Reeder than to do so with Kwenkeu.

CB Tay Gowan

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Tay Gowan may be just 25 years of age, but he is quietly one of the more experienced players in the Vikings secondary. Among the cornerbacks on the roster, he is one of just three to have multiple training camps under his belt heading into the summer.

Given the unproven nature of the Vikings CB room, and following the release of CB John Reid it certainly can’t be ruled out that a player like Gowan, who has shown flashes when given opportunities defensively, could be one of the players on the final 53-man roster.

NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.