D.J. Wonnum Emerging as Threat for Minnesota Vikings

D.J. Wonnum
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Last week’s contest, between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, could’ve been considered cruel and unusual punishment by most fans. Neither offense could string anything together, and penalty flags flew more than Delta Airlines. But the emergence of defensive end D.J. Wonnum was the one redeeming factor for the Vikings in an otherwise ugly game.

D.J. Wonnum Emerging as Threat for Minnesota Vikings

Rough Start to the Season

Selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft out of South Carolina, Wonnum has played significantly this season due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. For the most part, however, he has seemed like just a healthy body to put out on the field. His pressure rates have been near the bottom of the league and he hasn’t inspired in the run game either. Through the first 10 games of the season, Wonnum tallied just one single sack. Many people had begun to wonder whether defensive line guru, Coach Andre Patterson, could really unlock his potential.

Dominating the Chicago Bears

That was until Wonnum began to turn a corner. Highlighted by his prime-time performance against the Bears, Wonnum has begun to show flashes of the player the Vikings expected when they drafted him. On the night, Wonnum finished with eight tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble in the Vikings win. Over his last four games, the former Gamecock has five sacks to his name – a notable increase compared to his first 10.

In fact, after the Chicago game, he even expressed that he could’ve had an even more dominating performance stating, “I should have had four [sacks], really should have had five.” That’s quite a statement from a guy who took five games to register his first takedown of the year. But his play has really stepped up the last few weeks and it’s good to see his confidence has as well.

More to Prove

D.J. Wonnum will be given every opportunity to keep his starting role next season with Danielle Hunter’s contract situation remaining murky and Everson Griffen’s status unclear. His progress this season is a good indicator that he could take his game even higher with a full off-season to improve. Danielle Hunter wasn’t a full-time starter until his third year in the league so, in a sense, Wonnum is right on track. Consistency is where he will need to make his biggest jump.

The emergence of D.J. Wonnum has started at the right time as the Vikings find themselves in the middle of a heated playoff race. They will need his best play as it is very likely that winning out is the only clear path to the postseason. And hey, since he claims he could have had five sacks last week, maybe the young edge rusher can make it up to the fans and do it this week instead.

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