2021 NFL Draft: Exploring the Minnesota Vikings’ options with the 14th pick

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Where do the Minnesota Vikings go from here?

A 37-35 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 17 marked the end of an otherwise forgettable year for the Minnesota Vikings. After making the playoffs twice in three seasons, they would only go on to win seven games last year and, ultimately, miss out on postseason football. Now, all eyes are on the offseason, and there is a vested interest in what Rick Spielman and Co. will opt to do with their first-round pick, which currently sits at No. 14 overall.

Despite boasting a potent offense, which ranked 8th in total DVOA this past season and features some of the league’s most explosive skill position players, the Vikings never truly looked like Super Bowl contenders.

Why is that?

The team’s struggles can be attributed to a myriad of different reasons; whether it was the poor pass protection, the nonexistent pass rush, or the barrage of injuries that kept many of the Vikings’ stars from seeing the field. Whatever the case, the bottom line is this: after finishing with the worst record since their 2014 season, pressure is mounting on the Vikings’ front office to steady the ship. Hitting a home run with this pick would set the tone for the upcoming season, and, quite possibly, the near future of the franchise.

With this in mind, I have outlined two ways in which the Vikings might utilize their first-round pick to maximize its value, while taking into account positional need, scheme fit and, of course, best player available.