[brid autoplay=”true” video=”734375″ player=”23231″ title=”ESPN’s%20Michelle%20BeisnerBuck%20Breaks%20Down%20why%20the%20Minnesota%20Vikings%20Released%20Kyle%20Rudolph” duration=”112″ description=”Michelle Beisner-Buck, feature reporter for ESPN, reveals her Minnesota Vikings fandom to Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado and details why the team parted ways with tight end Kyle Rudolph. ” uploaddate=”2021-03-05″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/thumb/734375_t_1614904593.png” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/sd/734375.mp4″]
It’s time for a Minnesota Vikings mock draft as the 2021 NFL Draft is only a few weeks away. Coming off a rather disappointing season, with the same cast of talent returning to the roster, pressure is mounting on the Vikings to get this right to avoid their contention window closing.
Minnesota’s general manager Rick Spielman deserves credit for his haul from the 2020 NFL Draft. Justin Jefferson instantly became one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Ezra Cleveland, the team’s second-round pick, converted to guard and held up very well as a run blocker. Meanwhile, third-round selection Cameron Dantzler recorded two interceptions and received a 69.8 PFF grade in pass coverage.
There are plenty of needs on this roster for Spielman to address and he should be able to fill those voids this year. While there’s always a chance he surprises us by preparing for the future, even considering a quarterback, let’s think about a win-now approach from this front office.
With the help of The Draft Network’s simulator, let’s dive into our Minnesota Vikings mock draft.
Minnesota Vikings mock draft: Reshaping the roster to win now
First round, 14th pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, iOL, USC
The Vikings always imagined Cleveland would play at left tackle and it was part of the reason for cutting Riley Reiff. With the 2020 second-round pick switching to his natural position, it creates a glaring need on the interior offensive line. There aren’t many guards worth spending a top-50 pick on this year, but Vera-Tucker is in a class of his own as a prospect.
Like Cleveland, Vera-Tucker offers the versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line. Realistically, he profiles best as a left guard in the NFL. With outstanding instincts for the position and his years of experience are evident in his consistent technique and positioning. Vera-Tucker is most comfortable at guard and he will be at less risk of being exposed by supreme athletes on the edge. Put him and Cleveland together on the left side, the Vikings won’t have to worry about pressure.
Third round, 78th overall: Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
The fans need to start preparing for Harrison Smith to say farewell. Frankly, it’s a bit of a surprise that he wasn’t a cap casualty this offseason. Smith is entering his age-33 season and while he’s done so many great things for this team, he won’t be roaming the secondary beyond the 2021 season.
Jamar Johnson didn’t receive a ton of attention this past year, but he played some excellent football for the Hoosiers. He is a playmaker in the secondary, with Pro Football Focus crediting him with seven interceptions and zero touchdowns allowed on 406 coverage snaps. Just ask Justin Fields what he thinks of this safety’s ability to make plays on the football. He can be used in a situational role in Mike Zimmer’s defense as a rookie, learning from a five-time Pro Bowl selection. When Smith departs next offseason, Johnson will be ready to step in.
Third round, 90th overall: Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
There are few things Zimmer loves more than interior defensive linemen. After signing Dalvin Tomlinson less than a year after bringing in Michael Pierce, the Vikings are clearly set on the inside. However, Zimmer’s pass rush could certainly use some reinforcements along the edge.
We wouldn’t blame anyone if they didn’t watch Vanderbilt once this past season, it was one of the worst teams in college football. But Odeyingbo was one of the few bright spots on the Commodores’ defense, playing everywhere on the line and causing tons of problems as a pass rusher. He racked up 12 hurries, eight quarterback hits and five sacks in eight games. A 6-foot-6, 276-pound lineman who is quick off the snaps and plays with a mean streak is exactly the kind of talent Zimmer would love to move around.
Minnesota Vikings mock draft: Day 3 targets in 2021 NFL Draft
- Fourth round, 119th overall: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
- Fourth round, 125th overall: Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
- Fourth round, 134th overall: Kary VIncent Jr., CB, LSU
- Fourth round, 143rd overall: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
- Fifth round, 157th overall: John Bates, TE, Boise State
- Fifth round, 168th overall: Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
- Sixth round, 199th overall: Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State
What do you think about our Minnesota Vikings mock draft? Let us know in the comments below.