We have already covered Stephen Weatherly, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Tashawn Bower and Ade Aruna in our series of young Vikings ends in camp. Now, we turn to the fifth and final member, Vanderbilt product Jonathan Wynn.
Wynn earned his place on the Vikings’s camp roster thanks to three things: aggressiveness, motor and versatility. He was a multi-tool on Vanderbilt’s defensive line, moving in and out, anywhere from outside the tackle to head up on the center. He even stood up from time-to-time, though that was mostly early in his career. It did not result in the most lucrative of stat sheets, but his number 49 is all over Commodore defensive tape.
That said, Wynn’s chances of making the team out of camp are the slimmest of the five by a wide margin. He has the size and strength, but is a marginal athlete, especially compared to Bower and Odenigbo. His college production was minimal (four sacks, eight tackles for loss in 33 games at defensive end). His pass rushing plan is mostly limited to punch, separate, stop and see what happens. Sometimes, it works well for him.
The first thing you notice is that initial blow. It forces poor technique from the guard, causing a hand reset. That allows Wynn to discard the hands and rip through to the quarterback. He did it essentially on back-to-back plays. Sure, the pass blocking was lousy. But Wynn initiated the lousy technique with his forceful punch.
That’s where most of his rushes come from. Like Aruna, he was schematically more of a 3-4 end than a traditional end. He rarely lined up out wide to attack the quarterback. When he was in a five-technique or standing up, it was mostly in run situations, as Vanderbilt used linebackers to rush the passer off the edge most of the time. As such, finding reps that could translate to an NFL 4-3 end is difficult.
Truth be told, Wynn would likely fit better as a defensive tackle in the Vikings’ system if he were a little bigger. He has the run stuffing game for it. Watch as he beats the guard across face to make the tackle.
In zone-heavy NFL, those are the types of plays defensive linemen have to make constantly. And he has shown that he can more than hold his own against upper-echelon SEC offensive linemen, particularly in the run game.
Unfortunately, the problem for Wynn is going to be his lack of pass rusher athleticism. Weatherly, Aruna and Bower have size and speed. Odenigbo has speed and power. Wynn only has power. Since he is listed as an end on the Vikings’ roster, his prospects of making the 53-man at that position seem pretty slim.