The Washington Post recently examined the current and future state of the linebacking corps of the Minnesota Vikings. In a game that is increasingly reliant on speed, the linebackers are a critical component of the defensive unit.
Despite the importance of the position, the Vikings have a long history of difficulty in selecting and developing linebackers. In recent years, the team has largely relied on veteran free agents and trades for linebacking reinforcements. This strategy has been met with mixed results, with a few impactful players playing a major role in the team’s success, while others have been underwhelming.
The current linebacking corps is comprised of Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Ben Gedeon, Kentrell Brothers, and Eric Wilson. Kendricks and Barr have been the most consistent players, with Kendricks leading the team in tackles in 2018 and Barr earning Pro Bowl honors in 2015 and 2017. Gedeon and Brothers are both entering their third year, while Wilson is in his second season.
The team has also recently acquired veteran linebacker Cameron Smith in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. While Smith does not bring the same pedigree as Kendricks or Barr, he is a reliable player who can provide depth and consistency.
The team has also added several promising prospects through the draft in recent years. Eric Wilson and Devante Downs were both drafted in 2018, while Troy Dye was taken in the fourth round of this year’s draft. All three players have the potential to become impactful players for the team.
The Vikings have also signed several undrafted free agents, including Blake Lynch and Carter Coughlin. Lynch and Coughlin both have the potential to make the roster and contribute in their rookie seasons.
Overall, the Vikings appear to be in good shape at the linebacker position. While there is room for improvement, the team has a solid core of experienced veterans and young prospects who can provide depth and compete for starting jobs. In the future, it will be important for the Vikings to continue to add young talent and develop the players on their roster in order to maintain a competitive linebacking corps.