Khyiris Tonga named Minnesota Vikings breakout candidate

If the Minnesota Vikings are going to improve on their 13-4 season, they will need young players to step up. The defense especially needs that after finishing 31st in the NFL last season.

Zoltan Buday of Pro Football Focus identified a breakout candidate from each team and believes the Vikings’ candidate will be defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga.

The Vikings brought the third-year defensive lineman back on a team-friendly one-year deal, but he is expected to play a big role on the Minnesota defense as a starting interior defender.

While he only played 300 snaps for the Vikings in 2022, he carved out a role as their top interior run defender. His 73.3 run-defense grade ranked 16th among interior defenders, and the former seventh-round pick can take another leap in his first full season as a starter in 2023.

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Not only was Tonga good against the run, but he also excelled as a pass rusher. He finished 35th among defensive lineman in pass rush grade and excelled for a nose tackle.

With Tonga being a nose tackle, these are good numbers and they have a potential gem in Tonga.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire