Vikings Biggest Roster Strength … Is Glorious

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Who would’ve thought? Heading into the 2024 offseason, when the Minnesota Vikings faced the possibility of losing Danielle Hunter — that pass-rushing depth would later be interpreted as the franchise’s biggest roster strength.

Vikings Biggest Roster Strength … Is Glorious

Well, that’s the case for the purple team, according to Bleacher Report, an outfit that ranked each NFL team’s top roster strength this week. For Minnesota, the pass rush was nominated, a glorious observation.

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BR’s Scouting Department explained in lengthy detail, “The Vikings also lost star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter, but turnover at the edge position may make a pass rush that produced 43 sacks last season even better. To replace Hunter, the Vikings added Jonathan Greenard, an ascending 26-year-old who recorded 12.5 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures in 2023. They also brought in Andrew Van Ginkel (6.0 sacks in 2023), Jihad Ward (5.0 sacks) and Jonah Williams (2.0 sacks) to bolster edge depth.”

For clarity, this is the EDGE room as of May 30th:

OLB1: Jonathan Greenard
OLB2: Dallas Turner
OLB3: Andrew Van Ginkel
OLB4: Patrick Jones II
OLB5: Jihad Ward
OLB6: Andre Carter II
OLB7: Gabriel Murphy
OLB8: Owen Porter
OLB9: Bo Richter

While the defensive line’s interior may be a little week — Jerry Tillery will likely start next to nose tackle Harrison Phillips — off-ball linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. also provides quarterback pressure.

How Crazy Was
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“Defensive lineman Harrison Phillips (3 sacks, 8 QB pressures) will still be a factor in the middle, along with newcomer Jerry Tillery (2 sacks, 9 QB pressures). Do-it-all linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (2.0 sacks, 10 pressures), is also back following a very impressive rookie campaign. Minnesota used its second first-round pick on Alabama pass-rusher Dallas Turner, who has the physical upside needed to become a Pro Bowler in coordinator Brian Flores’ defense,” BR continued.

Minnesota actually has its most robust pass-rushing depth in years, arguably since Danielle Hunter’s rise to stardom in 2015 and 2016. It also helps that the pass rush is one the most vital aspect of football, probably ranking No. 2 after quarterback performance.

draft grade
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BR concluded, “Turner and Greenard could be one of the league’s best edge-rushing duos by the end of the year. While Minnesota’s receiving corps could be back to form by then too, the Vikings are positioned to lean on their defense early while getting McCarthy acclimated to the NFL.”

When the offseason began, many wondered, “What will the Vikings do if Danielle Hutner leaves in free agency?” Fast-forward a few months, and the team’s pass rush is perceived as its top strength. Not bad.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and defensive tackle Zach Sieler (92) celebrate a sack against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 8, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Vikings mandatory minicamp kicks off on Tuesday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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