Vikings Draft Thermometer: EDGE Lukas Van Ness

Vikings Draft Thermometer: EDGE Lukas Van Ness
Oct 29, 2022; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) reacts against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Vikings Draft Thermometer series, PurplePTSD‘s one-stop shop for all your 2023 NFL Draft needs. Throughout this series, we will be examining a number of prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, what exactly their role could be at the NFL level, and most importantly, whether or not they could end up playing their first NFL snaps in a Vikings uniform. With that, let’s take a look at today’s prospect: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness.


Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) sacks Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell (16) during the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Np1 1076
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 264 pounds
  • School: Iowa
  • Games Watched: Ohio State (2022), Iowa State (2022), Purdue (2022), Michigan (2022)


Iowa Hawkeyes defenders Joe Evans (13) Lukas Van Ness (91) Seth Benson (44) and Kaevon Merriweather (26) celebrate a safety against Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum during a NCAA non-conference football game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. 210918 Kent St Iowa Fb 031 Jpg
  • 2021: 33 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 7.0 sacks, 1 PD (13 games)
  • 2022: 37 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 6.0 sacks (13 games)


Sep 3, 2022; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; South Dakota State Jackrabbits quarterback Mark Gronowski (11) is sacked by Iowa Hawkeyes defensive end Joe Evans (13) and defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) as offensive linemen Garret Greenfield (74) and Mason Richman (78) look on during the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Lukas Van Ness is a bendy athlete that really finds success when he can use his patented spin move to get around offensive linemen. He has terrific burst off the line of scrimmage and utilizes great speed to the point where opposing offenses just can’t keep up with him as a pass-rusher.

There’s also some versatility in Van Ness’ game. Iowa often had him alternate between the EDGE as well as the interior defensive line. He certainly projects more as an EDGE in the NFL, but this ability to swap between the two spots could be of value to NFL teams in some intricate defensive packages.


Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) sacks Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) as Iowa defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg (97) brings pressure during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. 220101 Iowa Kentucky Citrus Fb Extra 036 Jpg

There’s something about having a pass rusher with multiple ways to win at the line of scrimmage, and Van Ness simply isn’t there yet. He relies on speed a lot, but he rarely utilizes power moves to win battles against offensive linemen.

There are also some inconsistencies in his tackling. At the end of the day, the Iowa pass rusher is very raw in a lot of the technicalities of being an edge rusher in the NFL.

NFL Projections

Iowa defensive end Joe Evans (13) and defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) celebrate a sack against Nevada quarterback Shane Illingworth during a NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. 220917 Nevada Iowa Fb 057 Jpg
  • Draft Round: Mid First-Late Second
  • Immediate Role: Fringe starter as an edge rusher, more likely to be a rotational piece for a good team.
  • Best-Case Scenario: George Karlaftis
  • Vikings Draft Temperature (0= no interest, 100= get him a purple jersey now): 10

The Vikings defense simply has too many positions of need to go after an EDGE early in the draft, particularly in the first round. Perhaps that changes if Minnesota makes a trade to acquire more assets (a probable scenario, by the way), but for now, I wouldn’t expect Lukas Van Ness to be a Viking to start his NFL career.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.