Though preseason is becoming less and less important, it does offer the opportunity to watch players who take advantage of their playing time. With this being said, these are a few Vikings who will make an impact when they get the chance.
5. Jordan Hicks
Hicks’ offseason has gone under the radar. As an important Veteran Linebacker, Hicks was a tackling machine with the Cardinals, totaling 384 over the past three seasons. Obviously Kendricks provides more than enough for that, but having two linebackers with a reported “good chemistry” will only help the overall defense and team. Replacing the positional role of Anthony Barr, Jordan Hicks can have an important impact this year in the pass game and even more in the run game.
4. DJ Wonnum
One of the most valued positions in football is edge rusher, and depth with this position is nearly as important. Last season, DJ Wonnum proved that he has the ability to be a starting edge rusher, most notably by his 8 sacks. As a rotational rusher however, Wonnum can come in and provide a fresh pass rush that will be very important. Wonnum will be an important piece of the Vikings defense this season, and I can’t wait to see what he does with more of his opportunities on a healthy defense.
3. Ty Chandler
Chandler has been getting more and more hype from Vikings fans over the off season, and for good reason. Chandler showed very good signs of explosiveness, agility, toughness, and much more. With Alexander Mattison in the last year of his rookie contract, I think the Vikings will look to get Ty Chandler some work if needed this season.
2. Ed Ingram
Ingram had a very good preseason. Ironically, his run block power personally looked better than his pass protection (not that it was a problem). Coming out of the draft, Ingram was thought to be one of the best pass protecting guards, but nothing more. I think that he proved he has more abilities than just that in the preseason. Ed Ingram will be an important piece of the Minnesota Vikings offensive line this season.
1. Jalen Nailor
Nailor made the team over Smith-Marsette for a reason. I believe that his speed and route running combination could help the Vikings passing game this season. He has shown some drop issues, and obviously he isn’t any more talented than the players above him on the depth chart, but I know the Vikings Coaching staff must have some plays designed for Nailor, and I bet he will use those opportunities to the best of his ability. Look for Nailor when he’s on the field this season.