Vikings Bubble Players: Defense

Sure, it will be interesting to see how the linebacker rotation shakes out or how Tank Williams fits into the defense, but there are numerous battles for roster spots that will take place in training camp and preseason. Here are five guys on the defensive side of the ball to monitor.

DE Ray Edwards -- If Edwards had stayed in college at Purdue another year, he might have been a late-first or early second-round pick. But, after disagreements with the coaching staff that limited his time on the field in 2005, Edwards sought his fortunes in the NFL and, due to a reputation – whether warranted or unwarranted – he fell to the second day of the draft and will be battling for a roster spot as a backup DE. As a sophomore starter in the always-tough Big Ten, he recorded eight sacks and has the promise to be one of the potential third-down/passing-down replacements for Lance Johnstone. He will be up against players like DeQuincy Scott, a free agent late of San Diego and Darrion Scott, a utility defensive lineman.

S Dustin Fox -- Fox is something of a forgotten man after breaking his left arm during the preseason last year. Taken in the third round of the 2005 draft, Fox was viewed by the coaching staff as a player who could compete for a backup position behind Darren Sharper and Corey Chavous. The competition at safety will be more difficult this season with the return of Willie Offord, the free agent signing of Tank Williams and the drafting of Greg Blue. With that in mind, the coaching staff switched Fox to cornerback, a position he played more often in college. He will have something to prove this year because, while the old regime obviously saw something it liked in Fox, the Childress Administration has bolstered the safety and cornerback positions.

DL Ross Kolodziej -- His name may be unfamiliar to a lot of Vikings fans, but he saw considerable playing time for the Arizona Cardinals and has the versatility to be one of the players fighting it out for the final roster spot on the defensive front. He finished fifth in the University of Wisconsin tackle list with 170 tackles. With Childress' ties to Wisconsin, it is likely he got a glowing report on Klodziej and will give him a chance to make an impression and make the team. He will be fighting for a backup spot behind Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, in competition with guys like Darrion Scott, Spencer Johnson and C.J. Mosley.

LB Kyle McKenzie -- He comes with a strong NFL bloodline – his uncle is former NFL star Reggie McKenzie and his brother is current NFL player Keith McKenzie. Although he went undrafted, he is viewed as an ideal candidate for a defense that runs the Cover-2 and could have a chance to unseat one of the veteran players if the veteran falls in disfavor with the new coaching staff. For now, he's considered a longshot, but he could be a developmental guy if nothing else.

DE DeQuincy Scott -- An unrestricted free agent that the Vikings went after once free agency began, likely at the behest of then-general manager Fran Foley, who had personal experience with him at San Diego. As a reserve DE in 2005, he recorded 4.5 sacks and will be in the competition to face a designated pass rusher. It's possible his battle for a roster position could come down to him or Ray Edwards.

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