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5 Things to Know About New Vikings Defensive End D.J. Wonnum

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings selected three defensive players in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, starting with defensive end D.J. Wonnum.

The former South Carolina standout was the 117th overall pick in the draft.

Here are five things to know about Wonnum.

1. Built like a Hunter

Wonnum's body size has drawn comparisons to Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.

"He's a guy in the mold of Danielle Hunter, which is exactly what [Vikings Head Coach] Mike Zimmer wants up there on defense," ESPN analyst Louis Riddick said on television when Wonnum was picked.

Wonnum, who measures in 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, said he is familiar with Hunter's rise to stardom.

Hunter, who was 6-5 and 252 pounds out of LSU in 2015, has recorded back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with 14.5 sacks in each. He also became the youngest player in NFL history (since 1982) to record 50 career sacks last season.

2. Call it a comeback

Wonnum was South Carolina's 2019 Comeback Player of the Year after he was limited to just five games in 2018 due to injury.

A team captain in 2019, Wonnum collected Second-Team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press after recording 37 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Wonnum was also named a team captain in 2017 as a sophomore.

Wonnum appeared in 43 games with 30 starts in college, recording 137 career tackles with 14.0 sacks and 29.5 career tackles for loss.

3. Football is family

Wonnum's younger brother, Dylan, is currently a tackle at South Carolina. Dylan is two years younger than D.J.

D.J. Wonnum talked about how much he enjoyed being on the same team and having practice battles with his brother in his final two college seasons.

"It's great, man, just having my brother, being a role model in his life, having him just coming in, looking up to me being a captain for the team as well," Wonnum said. "By having him alongside, we got each other better each day, each practice, and I'm looking for some big things out of him, too."

Dylan Wonnum has started 14 games in his college career and was an SEC All-Freshman and Freshman All-American in 2018.

View images of Vikings fourth round draft pick South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum .

4. Hanging with the big Dogs

One of Wonnum's best games as a senior came against Georgia, which had one of the top offensive lines in the country. Left tackle Andrew Thomas was the No. 4 overall pick by the Giants, and right tackle Isaiah Wilson went 29th overall to the Titans.

Wonnum more than held his own against the pair of first-rounders, recording six total tackles (his second-most in a game in 2019). Wonnum also registered 0.5 sacks, which also counted as 0.5 tackles for loss.

"Yeah, so, uh, going up against a great tackle, Andrew Thomas, and Isaiah [Wilson], some great guys, competing with them boys," Wonnum said. "Obviously, you know we beat Georgia, so coming out and playing them guys and dominating up front, helping my team win the game, it was an incredible feeling."

Wonum helped South Carolina to a 20-17 win over Georgia, which was ranked third in the country at the time.

5. Historical facts

The selection of Wonnum marked the first time in Vikings history that Minnesota selected at pick No. 117.

Wonnum is the ninth South Carolina player to ever be drafted by the Vikings, and the first since 2009 (LB Jasper Brinkley).

Other notable Vikings draft picks who played at South Carolina include wide receivers Sidney Rice and Troy Williamson, as well as cornerback Bobby Bryant.