After a disappointing 7-9 record, the Minnesota Vikings landed the 14th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Minnesota entered the draft with a total of 10 picks, six of which fall between rounds three and four. With significant draft capital and no second-round pick, the Vikings are in a strong position to trade back in the first round.
After a busy free agency period, the Vikings enter the 2021 NFL Draft with significant needs on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Vikings had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season and one of the worst pass rushes defensively. While Minnesota returns Michael Pierce at defensive tackle, Danielle Hunter at end, and signed tackle Davlin Tomlinson, the Vikings do not have a set counterpart opposite Hunter.
While Hunter has been one of the most productive defensive ends in the NFL, Minnesota has concerns over the 26-year-old’s future in the league after sustaining a herniated disk in his neck. After primarily focusing on improving their defense via free agency, the Minnesota Vikings will likely select multiple offensive linemen with their ten picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Vikings released veteran left tackle Riley Reiff in order to create the cap space allowing Mike Zimmer to address his defense through free agency. How Minnesota addresses Reiff’s departure will likely be determined through the Draft. The Vikings could shift 2020 second-round pick, Ezra Cleveland, back to his natural position at left tackle or could keep the former Boise State lineman at guard and address the tackle position through the Draft.
What General Manager Rick Speilman decides to do on April 29 will depend on who is available on his big board at 14 and which NFL teams are looking to trade up. With quarterbacks set to be a lock at picks one through three, trade-up scenarios will depend entirely on how other general managers rank whoever is left between Mac Jones, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance.
This 2021 Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft begins with the Minnesota Vikings moving back to 19 with Washington looking to surpass the Patriots at 15.