The Vikings drafted South Carolina defensive end D.J. Wonnum with the first of three picks at No. 117 during Saturday’s fourth round.
Two more defenders joined Wonnum in the fourth round when the Vikings drafted defensive end James Lynch (Baylor) and linebacker Troy Dye (Oregon) at picks No. 130 and 132.
The Vikings traded their first pick in the fifth round to the Bears for a fourth-round pick in 2021.
Wonnum (6-5, 258 pounds) ranked second on the Gamecocks defense last fall with 9.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks as a senior. He’s the first addition to the defensive line since Everson Griffen announced his departure this month.
Wonnum has the prototypical build (think Danielle Hunter) the Vikings have long sought in defensive ends. He’s got experience as a stand-up edge rusher like a 3-4 system, which head coach Mike Zimmer started incorporating in packages last season. Here’s Wonnum’s NFL.com draft profile.
But the Vikings could envision him as a full-time end. General manager Rick Spielman said he was looking forward to finding longtime defensive line coach Andre Patterson’s “pet cats,” or coveted D-line projects, during the draft’s final day.
One of them was Lynch, who had 13.5 sacks for Baylor last fall. Lynch (6-4, 289 pounds) could move inside to defensive tackle, where he projects as a possible three technique in his draft profile.
Dye (6-3, 231 pounds) was a tackling machine for the Ducks as an inside linebacker, but his thinner build means he could be an outside linebacker for the Vikings.