Whatever the Choice — Vikings Pick at #14 Is a Win-Win Outcome

The Minnesota Vikings sit at 14 in this year’s draft. In a year that you could see 5
quarterbacks taken in the top 10, the Vikings could be left with a plethora of elite
talent to choose from at 14. The Vikings traditionally draft well and in a year that
there will be an abundance of talent you can expect the Vikings to select a real
difference-maker. There could be a situation where the top-rated defensive lineman
or the best defensive back available. With the first 8 of the first 10 picks almost set in
stone, the Vikings are in a great spot to complete their squad and become a real
contender in the NFC.

Different Directions the Vikings Could Go:

The Obvious

Common sense would suggest the Vikings take the best offensive lineman available.
Penei Sewell will not be available (unless they trade up). Sewell is going to change
the fortunes of a franchise. He is a player that can be an anchor on your offensive
line for years to come. This draft is filled with very good linemen who can be day 1
starters and be good immediately. Names like Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw,
and Alijah Vera-Tucker come to mind, and the Vikings will be in a great position to
take any of these guys because at least one of them will definitely fall to 14 (maybe
even all 3 if teams decide to prioritize other needs).

The offensive line has been a dire need for the Vikings for years and they have spent
multiple high draft picks trying to address the position. In the last 3 years, the Vikings
have spent an enormous amount of draft capital trying to fix the offensive line (10
picks over the last 4 drafts). 2018 2nd round pick Brian O’Neil was impressive during
his first 2 seasons giving up just 0.5 sacks in 30 games. Slight regression in 2020
saw him allow 5.0 sacks in 16 starts. Everyone else on the Vikings’ offensive line has
been near the bottom at their position. Ezra Cleveland’s 6.9% pressure rate allowed
ranked 37th out of 40 qualifying right guards in his first year (although he was a left
tackle for 3 years in college). In that same vein, Garrett Bradbury’s 5.1% pressure
rate allowed ranked 34th out of 36 qualifying centers, and Dakota Dozier’s pressure
rate allowed of 8.0% ranked 36th out of 39 qualifying left guards. None of their three
starters on the interior cracked the top 32 at their respective position.

It is obvious what the Vikings need to do, draft an offensive lineman. It should be
simple enough with the amount of talent that will be available when the Vikings are
on the clock at 14. Whether it is Vera Tucker, Mel Kiper’s highest-rated interior
lineman or one of the tackles still on the board the Vikings should and most likely will
take one of these guys at 14.

Potential on Defence?

With the amount of offensive talent available in this draft class, there is a real
possibility that some of the best defensive players in the draft fall to Minnesota. If you
are Minnesota can you afford to pass on that level of defensive talent? The
opportunity to pair Caleb Farley with Cam Dantzler for years to come. Or the
prospect of bringing in Kwity Paye, the number 1 rated defensive end. There is also
a slim chance that Micah Parsons is available. A generational sideline to sideline
linebacker who can anchor your defense and you could pair him with Eric Kendricks.
These are all real possibilities, the prospect of solidifying your defense for years to
come, and you know how Mike Zimmer feels about defense.

Trading Out of 14?

There is however a 3rd option, trading out of this spot and accumulating more draft
capital. Something Rick Spielman is somewhat becoming known for. One reason
they could trade the pick is for an already established player such as Orlando Brown.
He has made his intentions clear and the Ravens are happy to let him go but for a
good price. I mean, if you’re Minnesota, why take a risk on a rookie when you can
just use the pick you would have used on an offensive lineman on one who is
already established in the league and has been to the pro bowl 2 times in 3 years?
Or the Vikings could trade out of 14 to recoup the 2nd round pick they lost when they
traded for Yannick Ngakoue.

Don’t Get Cute!

No need to overthink this, the Vikings have put themselves in a brilliant position with
their moves this offseason. They have shored up the defense that was leaking yards
and points, and they’ve become better on offense too. They could theoretically just take
the best available player and be happy with that but the need for an elite offensive
lineman is there for all to see. Either way, regardless of what the Vikings do, they are
in a beautiful position and they know that whoever they take will be a great addition
to their roster.

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Greg B
Greg B
23 days ago

Agreed it COULD be a win win but let’s talk linemen draft picks. 10 picks in the last 4 drafts but few were 1st or 2nd round picks. Bradbury a first rounder is suspect and Samia is in for lack of options. Kalil, well there’s that. Speilmans attempts to build a line is akin to having all the grocery shopping done and grabbing something while standing in the check out line. Shopping the late rounds is not putting a need as a priority.

Reply to  Greg B
23 days ago

Bradbury 1st round pick
Ezra Cleveland 2nd round pick
O’Neil 2nd round pick

Not sure your analogy is sound? They have been drafting using higher picks, just not hitting on them.

Reply to  Jesse
22 days ago

And Elflein was a 3rd rounder drafted to start sooner or later.

David U. Joseph
David U. Joseph
23 days ago

Slater would be a great option if he fell as he has the diversity to play inside or out. If the team knows more about Hughes’s neck and Gladney’s situation in Texas then Farley should be an option if they feel good about his medicals. I just do not know if these are the best option available.

I would be very active in looking to trade back, possibly twice, with teams eager to move up for a falling player. I would try and move some of the later picks with these trade backs to get additional picks in the (2&3) rounds. Targeting a guy like Oweh late in round one as edge is not as deep as OL. There are a plethora of good Tackles that could be an option and or complete for Left Tackle, but still have the ability to kick inside. Good targets here would be Comsi or Christiansen to name just a couple. I still believe in Ezra Cleveland as the answer at LT, and the team could grab a couple guys like Ben Cleveland, Dickerson, Humphrey, or Meinertz. There are so many great options available on day two. If team were able to possibly get one of both options and let (Ben) Cleveland compete there would be three capable players actually fighting for two spots or help over on the left side at Guard.

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