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Minnesota made an interesting choice in the 2021 NFL draft. Despite needing a defensive end to thrive opposite Danielle Hunter, the Vikings waited until the third round to select an edge rusher.

It would be great if third-round pick Patrick Jones II took over the starting defensive end spot and thrived. It would also be great if Stephen Weatherly or D.J. Wonnum stepped up and produced big numbers to complement Hunter on the other side. But none of those things are certain.

Jones might need time to get acclimated to the league. Janarius Robinson, another draftee and another defensive end, is seen as a project. A rookie who struggles at defensive end in 2021 could affect Hunter’s production level.

Weatherly is coming off a 2020 where he played in nine games (358 snaps) and had zero sacks with the Panthers. He had a PFF grade of 53.7. Weatherly rejoined his former team in the Vikings this offseason, but Minnesota shouldn’t bank on Weatherly’s role being anything more than a useful reserve.

Wonnum had a promising rookie year. He tallied three sacks in 14 games played (471 snaps). It’d be asking a lot of Wonnum to up that production considerably with more snaps. He could become a starting-caliber edge rusher in the future, but he needs to win in the pass rush more consistently.

Add in the fact that Minnesota has a decent amount of 2021 salary cap space to work with and the team could go out and add another player to the starting defensive end competition. From Patrick Peterson to Dalvin Tomlinson, the Vikings have added veterans through free agency to try and fix the defensive problems from 2020. On paper, Minnesota’s 2021 defense is pretty complete. Now, it’s time to sign another defensive end.