Emmanuel Lamur – LB
The Vikings defense is going to be one of the best units in the NFL in 2016, so finding anyone who might “breakout” on it is tough. I mean, young players like Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes are already established names and quality players. The new signings like Michael Griffin are well known and even their rotation up front are not nameless rookies. So how did we come up with Lamur as the breakout player?
Lamur spent two years under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati. So theoretically he knows what he is doing in the Vikings defense despite only arriving with the team this offseason. While the Vikings did re-sign veteran Chad Greenway as well he stood out for all the wrong reasons last year and should be passing the torch through the 2016 season, leaving enough space for Lamur to get enough snaps to show what he can do.
Lamur is not the perfect player, Cincinnati wouldn’t have let him go if he was. He’s had injury issues and some trouble consistently diagnosing what is in front of him but hie is highly athletic and never shies from contact. Zimmer has said he will be playing Lamur at the weak linebacker position, protecting him a little more and allowing him to run more rather than taking on blockers which would play well to his strengths.
In such a position it is not outlandish to think Lamur could put together a strong season and improve on his career bests of 2 interceptions and 97 tackles from 2014. Minnesota’s defensive front is full of talent, so maybe Eric Kendricks & Anthony Barr will run wild enough to stop Lamur racking up his own massive numbers – but stats only tell half the story and with Lamur’s ability to thrive in space he should be a quality performer for the Vikings in 2016.