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The Vikings 2021 NFL Draft Menu

All the Picks on Tap.

The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to make 12 choices during the 2021 NFL Draft.

1st Round Pick, 14th overall
3rd Round Pick
3rd Round Pick (from Ravens)
4th Round Pick
4th Round Pick (from Bears)
4th Round Pick (from Bills)
4th Round Pick (Compensatory)
5th Round Pick
5th Round Pick (from Steelers)
6th  Round Pick
6th Round Pick (Compensatory)
7th Round Pick

Notably, the franchise [for the moment] is deprived of a 2nd-Round selection, a derivative of the ill-fated Yannick Ngakoue trade last summer. In fairness, general manager Rick Spielman did trade Ngakoue away to the Baltimore Ravens for the above-listed 3rd-Round clawback pick when he realized the EDGE rusher was not a fit for the Vikings.

The absence of a 2nd-Rounder is crucial and damning as Spielman is a maestro in the 2nd Round. It’s the venue that has netted successes like Eric Kendricks, Kyle Rudolph, Brian O’Neill, Irv Smith Jr., and Dalvin Cook. That is a robust collection of names.

What’s more, the 2021 NFL Draft holds the highest pick for Minnesota in six years. At the 14th hole, the Vikings are in rarified territory. Spielman generally lurks in the back half of the 1st Round. But not in 2021. The 2020 season was disappointing, and the spoils of that are evident in draft capital.

So, what should you expect?

There Will Be Trades

Start getting comfortable with the notion of trading back from #14. The Vikings have roster needs on the defensive line, offensive line, free safety, and cornerback to confront. The most efficient way to maximize this draft – especially with a skimpy coronavirus salary cap – is to fortify the depth chart with rookies. Other NFL teams will call about Spielman’s interest in moving down from the present spot. That 14th selection can conceivably be flipped into two or three players. Expect the Vikings to actionize this.

Spielman must navigate his way to the 2nd Round. It’s his bread and butter. The “easiest” way to do it is to leverage the 14th pick for a slideback into the 20s-range of the 1st Round while accumulating a 2nd-Rounder. Or – he could bundle the unholy amount for 4th-Round picks into one snazzy 2nd-Round option. Either method will do the trick.

The safest prognostication to offer on Minnesota’s draft night involves moving-and-shaking. Given Spielman’s track record of trading all over the place, it would be foolhardy to believe that the practice will cease in the wacky 2021 offseason.

Bittersweet High-Round History

In the last five years, the Vikings 1st-Round draft history is splotchy. Spielman has drafted the aforementioned Trae Waynes, Laquon Treadwell, Mike Hughes, Garrett Bradbury, Jeff Gladney, and Justin Jefferson.

Only one of those men is a 500-foot homerun – and you know who it is.

Two are probably busts – Treadwell and Hughes. Waynes was good – not great – for five years with the Vikings. The verdict is still out on Bradbury and Gladney.

The 2nd Round is pure glory amid the last five drafts: Eric Kendricks, Mackensie Alexander, Dalvin Cook, Brian O’Neill, Irv Smith Jr., and Ezra Cleveland. VikingsTerritory challenges you to find a better platter of 2nd-Round picks leaguewide in the last half-decade. Good luck.

And, this is why it is so imperative that Spielman wiggles his way back into the 2nd Round. The history is damn near Death, Taxes, and Spielman in the 2nd Round kind of stuff.

Late-Round Gems

Two of Spielman’s paramount finds were unearthed in the 3rd Round or later since 2015: Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. Indeed, it is not uncommon for general managers to steal good-to-great players beyond the draft’s 2nd Round, but Hunter and Diggs are different. The two men are team-defining personalities.

That’s why it is comforting to know the Vikings have 11 picks between rounds three and seven. The odds of Spielman striking oil increase exponentially as that number rises. He even found Cameron Dantzler in the 3rd Round last spring – and Dantzler was only ranked by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s best rookie cornerback. Kudos.

It is true that the 1st Round of the draft will be to the utmost of excitement for Vikings enthusiasts and NFL enthusiasts alike, but the 3rd and 4th-Rounds will be the areas that Minnesota decides how the 2021 season will shake out.

The team – like most other franchises during this strange covid-fallout period – must draft aptly to shore up unexpected roster turnover.


Dustin Baker

Writer. Host of Bleav in Vikings Podcast w/B-Mac & Baker.

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Robert Clark
Robert Clark
3 months ago

I totally agree. The proof is in the pudding and the logic is self explanatory. A 2nd rounder, ( late 30’s – early 40’s ideally ) is the necessary ingredient to a positive draft.
As I have stated before, if the Vikings can trade back, get a 2nd rounder by either pure trade or compiling it with a 4th rounder to square out the deal, I think that will be the optimal position.
That being said, my own thoughts are essentially, trading back to say 21st or thereabouts, basically giving a 1st and 4th for 1st and 2nd. If it comes to that. I think Barrmore would probably still be on the board as well as possibly Darrisaw or Tucker. Either way, grab the best player at the position and fill a major void. My thinking is, hopefully, grab Barrmore at pick 21, 22, get into 2nd round and get the guard Wyatt from Ohio St.
Another scenario would be to stay pat and grab Paye or Rousseau and then bundle several late round picks to obtain 2nd round pick. Then get the best OT or OG remaining on the board.
3rd rou nd would then be CB and WR or possibly QB say Kyle Trask? Also imperative that the Vikings find a real kicker and give the guy time to develop. 2 good picks and trade capital were wasted on 3 kickers that could not cut it. 2 of them went to other teams and are still kicking!? Ok, somethings wrong here! I am not a talent scout but I listen and learn. Let’s hope that Spielman and crew does the same. SKOL!

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