The 2020 Minnesota Vikings should have made a solid playoff run. The Vikings NFL Draft class worked well, with players like Justin Jefferson and Troy Dye helping out.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and he needs to do it again in the 2021 NFL Draft.
With the 14th pick in the NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select…
The 2021 NFL mock drafts offer a few schools of thought on what Spielman should do. When the NFL Draft rolls around on Thursday, April 29th, he’ll have options.
With a tough 2021 schedule, Minnesota needs to draft smart and pzlay smarter.
The Vikings currently hold the 14th overall pick. After that, they have TWO 3rd-rounders, three 4th-rounders, two 5th-rounders, a 6th and a 7th. That rounds out at 10 total picks.
Minnesota traded away their 2021 second-round pick. Spielman sent it to the Jacksonville Jaguars for failed defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue. The Vikings traded him to the Baltimore Ravens for a third-rounder this year and a conditional 2022 pick.
The 2020 Minnesota Vikings did a solid job in just about every phase of the game, except one: run defense. Injuries and the COVID opt outs weakened the Vikings defensive roster. However, conventional wisdom still dictates they need to do something to shore up the run defense.
Vikings Will Draft A Defender
One player whose name appears the most is Miami defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau.
The 6-7, 253-pound end finished his 2019 campaign with 34 solo tackles, 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Rousseau terrorized opposing offenses.
CBS Sports has Rousseau ranked as the top edge rusher in the draft. And there’s a good chance Rousseau will fall to the Vikings at #14.
But, what if he doesn’t? Edge rushers are a hot commodity in the first round. Spielman assuredly has a plan for someone else if the big QB killer is off the board by the 14th pick.
Should Spielman want to stay focused on the defensive line, Alabama’s Christian Barmore is a likely pick. Barmore is a bit of a reach at #14, as he’s projected to go late in the round. The mammoth defensive tackle won’t go early in the first round with the sheer number of quarterbacks and wide receivers ahead of him in the rankings, and he’s not the No. 1 defender, either.
The Vikings could trade back to get the player they want. A more likely option is Tulsa outside linebacker Zaven Collins, unless the Vikings trade back for Barmore. The 6-4, 260-pound linebacker had 97 total tackles and two sacks in 2019 and would make a nice compliment to the Vikings existing linebacker corps, which includes Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Dye.
Another trade back option to help the Vikings defensive front seven is Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones II. The 6-5, 260-pound senior landed 8.5 sacks in 2019 and could feast in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
Draft for Need or Best Player Available?
There are two schools of thought when working a draft board: draft the best player available or draft only for what your team needs.
Which way does Spielman draft?
While both ways have pluses and minuses, Spielman has often leaned more to the former. But, he’s also worked a great balance between the two, processing a lot of information to land some great draft picks over the years.
For those who don’t know, Spielman has drafted Kendricks, Stefon Diggs, Xavier Rhodes, Cordarrelle Patterson, Harrison Smith, Barr, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and others. While every one of his picks hasn’t been a home run, no one’s ever are. In the end, Spielman is better than average on draft day, usually pulling at least a few starters, including undrafted free agents like Adam Thielen and Anthony Harris.
For Vikings fans, Spielman getting two quality defensive starters from the 2021 NFL Draft should be all this team needs roster-wise to contend for the Super Bowl.