2021 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings find value in Christian Darrisaw pick

The Minnesota Vikings select Christian Darrisaw at No. 23 in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
The Minnesota Vikings select Christian Darrisaw at No. 23 in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

After missing out on top offensive tackles Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, the Minnesota Vikings traded back from the 14th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft with the New York Jets and selected Virginia Tech offensive tackle, Christian Darrisaw.

The Vikings entered the 2021 NFL Draft without a second-round pick after burning their second-rounder on Yanick Ngakoue and after trading down with the New York Jets, failed to acquire a second-rounder. However with New York’s 66th and 86th overall picks in the third round combined with Minnesota’s third-round picks at 78 and 90, Speilman is in an excellent position to rebuild Minnesota’s defense or bundle multiple picks to move into the second round.

After primarily focusing on improving their defense via free agency, the Minnesota Vikings will likely select multiple offensive linemen 2021 NFL Draft. Speilman’s decision to select Christian Darrisaw in the first round indicates the rookie tackle will be expected to take over the left tackle from Riley Reiff after Minnesota’s decision to cut the veteran tackle.

The decision to draft Darrisaw also indicates the Minnesota Vikings’ plan to keep second-year offensive lineman, Ezra Cleveland at the guard position. Cleveland was a two-year starter at left tackle for Boise State and was selected in the second-round pick of the 2020 Draft. Cleveland was shited to guard due to injuries and played well for a rookie lineman.

After Penei Sewell, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw may be the best all-around tackle available in the 2021 NFL Draft. Darrisaw made an immediate impact with the Hokies, earning a starting job at left tackle and continued to develop each of his three years. Darrisaw started each of his nine games in the 2020 season at left tackle, earning All-ACC honors, and is coming off one of the strongest seasons in this line group.

While Slater would have given Minnesota options to rotate Cleveland and Slater between guard or tackle, Darrisaw is the most logical pick for the team if the Vikings plan to keep Cleveland at guard. Darrisaw possesses the size, strength, and length to make an immediate impact at the left tackle position and would be an ideal fit in Kubiak’s expected zone run scheme.

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While the Vikings enter day two of the 2021 NFL Draft without a second-round pick, Minnesota has a total of four third-round picks and is in an excellent position to add depth across the defensive line and secondary.