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This is the second in a series of position previews for the 2024 NFL draft, which begins April 25. Today: Edge rushers.

Vikings' outlook

The edges of Brian Flores' defense have been remade after the free-agent departures of Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum and Marcus Davenport. The Vikings moved quickly to replace them, signing the Texans' Jonathan Greenard and Dolphins' Andrew Van Ginkel as the new starters on the edges. Greenard might not look like Hunter, but he's got even longer arms and brought similar havoc with 12.5 sacks last season. Van Ginkel reunites with Flores after a winding road in Miami that led him back to his disruptive home on the edge.

Those additions shouldn't preclude the Vikings from adding another prominent piece or two in the draft. They need quality and quantity.

Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II are also on the roster. Jones, a 2021 third-round pick, struggled to finish last season when injuries thinned the Vikings' options. He had one sack in a career-high 388 pass rushes, according to Pro Football Focus. Despite needing help, coaches didn't play Carter much after the front office made him a priority undrafted signing.

Vikings' level of need

High. The Vikings need defensive line help inside, outside and all over the place. There's a reason why edge rusher is the most common position sent to the Vikings by mock drafters who only pay attention to the team during this time of year. Flores could use some more talent up front — in the first and second waves of rushers.

The Vikings currently have two first-round picks. While they could consolidate those into a trade up for one coveted quarterback, they could also be forced to wait. That's when the focus could suddenly shift to taking a first-round edge rusher for the first time since they selected Erasmus James with the 18th overall pick in 2005. (In 2008, the Vikings did trade a first-round pick to Kansas City for edge rusher Jared Allen).

Three names to know

OLB Dallas Turner, Alabama: Turner (6-3, 247 pounds) led all edge rushers at the scouting combine with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash. The freakishly athletic pass rusher had 14.5 tackles for losses and 10 sacks last season for the Crimson Tide, making for the kind of potential that NFL teams salivate over. He could end up being the first edge rusher selected in this year's draft. Vikings evaluators met with Turner at the combine and, according to NFL Media, were scheduled to host him on a predraft visit this month.

OLB Jared Verse, Florida State: Another popular first-round projection, Verse (6-4, 254 pounds) transferred from Albany and went on a two-year tear through the ACC. He had 29.5 tackles for losses and 18 sacks over those two seasons for the Seminoles, solidifying his status as one of this year's most well-rounded edge rushers.

OLB Laiatu Latu, UCLA: Latu (6-5, 259 pounds) returned from a medical retirement because of a neck injury and played himself into the conversation as a possible first-round pick. Latu, who had 23.5 sacks over the past two years at UCLA, underwent a similar neck fusion surgery as Hunter and was cleared by the same doctor in Los Angeles. He's since terrorized quarterbacks in the Pac-12 with a "rare maturity to his game that you usually see from NFL veterans," writes analyst Lance Zierlein.

One sleeper

OLB Bralen Trice, Washington: The Vikings also met with Trice (6-4, 260 pounds) at the combine, where evaluators got an up-close look at a powerful and productive player. Over the past two seasons, Trice had 23.5 tackles for losses and 16 sacks. He was a team captain off the field and a consistent disrupter on the field. He's not the most athletic edge rusher in this class, but he's lauded by analysts for his physicality and demeanor.