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This is the last in a series of position previews for the 2024 NFL draft, which begins Thursday. Today: Defensive linemen.

Offensive line | Edge rushers | Receivers | Running backs | Tight ends | Quarterbacks | Defensive backs | Linebackers

Vikings outlook

The depth chart includes six players, none of whom are capable of being three-down impact starters in coordinator Brian Flores' 3-4 scheme. The best player, Harrison Phillips, is a guy that even coach Kevin O'Connell has admitted needs to play fewer than the career-high 839 snaps (74%) he logged in 17 starts last season. The other five players — including free agent acquisitions Jerry Tillery, Jonah Williams and Jihad Ward — are rotational, backup-caliber talents. Second-year pro Jaquelin Roy has shown glimpses of possessing an above-average combination of interior quickness and size, but hasn't stayed healthy and played only 96 snaps last year. Jonathan Bullard was wisely re-signed because of how thin the position is, but having him as one of the three starters isn't ideal. Dean Lowry and Khyiris Tonga are gone, but not missed. The 6-5, 275-pound Williams, 28, started 16 games for the Rams last year. The 6-6, 295-pound Tillery, 27, a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2019, had six starts last year for the Raiders. The 6-5, 285-pound Ward, who will be 30 in May, had nine starts last year for the Giants, his sixth team in nine years.

Vikings' level of need

High. Another position, another major need that might go unfilled on Day 1 because of the team's ultimate need at quarterback. The Vikings haven't had a dominant three-down interior defensive lineman since Kevin Williams was posting five first-team All-Pro selections in a six-year stretch from 2004-09. Three-technique players of that caliber — with the size to be an unmovable run-stopper and the quickness, speed and agility to be a penetrating inside force in passing situations — are extremely rare and often hail from the first round. The field of prospects is slim this year and includes only two probable first-rounders in Texas' Byron Murphy II in the middle of the round and Illinois' Jer'Zhan Newton toward the end. If the Vikings stand pat at 11 and 23, Murphy probably would be a bit of a reach at 11 and definitely a too-tempting bargain at 23. Picking him would corner the market on Byron Murphys since the Vikings have a Byron Murphy Jr. at cornerback.

Three names to know

Byron Murphy II, Texas: The 6-0½, 297-pounder ranks ninth on Pro Football Focus' overall list of prospects. His rare combination of strength, quickness and speed put him head and shoulders above any other tackle in this year's draft.

T'Vondre Sweat, Texas: Once considered a potential first-round pick, Murphy's Longhorns teammate has slid since being arrested for drunken driving earlier this month. The Vikings don't have picks in the second and third round. If Sweat is there when the Vikings pick again in the fourth round, it would be hard not to risk the 108th overall pick on the massive potential reward of a 6-4½, 366-pounder who won last year's Outland Trophy award as the nation's best lineman.

DeWayne Carter, Duke: The 6-2, 302-pounder with the 4.99 speed and endless motor is another potential catch for the Vikings early on Day 3. He was first-team All-ACC as well as the conference's top student-athlete. He also was Duke's first-ever three-year team captain.

One sleeper

Evan Anderson, Florida Atlantic: The intriguing small-school prospect projects as a late Day 3 pick. He played last season at 6-1, 356 pounds and wasn't invited to the combine. He did, however, turn heads at the East-West Shrine Bowl, giving interior offensive linemen problems with a slimmed-down, much-quicker 319-pound body.