As the NFL off-season progresses and the 2021 NFL Draft inches closer, the Minnesota Vikings draft plans have become clear, and it is appearing they lie along the offensive line. During the free agency process, the Vikings went out and signed some solid additions to the roster. Heading into the new year, the team looked to bulk up defensively. In the secondary, the Vikings added eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, corner Mackensie Alexander, and safety Xavier Woods. Upfront, Minnesota also signed defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Nick Vigil.
On offense, however, Minnesota didn’t really surprise anyone with their moves during free agency. They played it conservative in re-signing guard Dakota Dozier and tackle Rashod Hill. The Vikings also traded for offensive lineman Mason Cole in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals. With those off-season moves in mind, Minnesota has a decision to make in the opening round of the NFL Draft. Given it is a quarterback-heavy draft at the top, the Vikings are in a perfect position to take an offensive lineman with that opening-round selection.
Minnesota Vikings Must Go Offensive Line in First Round
Vikings Offensive Line Options
In past years, the draft has featured a few offensive linemen going in the early half of the first round. This year might be different because of the buzz around the top five quarterbacks and the heavy dose of position players expected to go in the first dozen picks. That works in Minnesota’s favor, as by their pick some fantastic lineman will still be on the board.
The top offensive lineman entering this year’s draft is Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who is unlikely to fall to 14. Even so, there will still be some great prospects available come the Vikings pick. Players such as tackles Rashawn Slater from Northwestern, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, Teven Jenkins of Oklahoma State, or even Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield could be options. There are also interior linemen such as Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC or Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, amongst others, who could be taken at 14th.
Vikings Draft Picks
If Minnesota had a second-round selection, they might draft another position in round one. After all, one of those linemen is bound to fall into round two. Nevertheless, the Vikings are without a second-round selection in the draft, stemming from the Yannick Ngakoue trade. That leaves a gap from 14th overall to 78th in the third round, during which most of these prospects may be gone. That is, unless, the Vikings trade back into the second round.
Minnesota filled their needs on the defensive side of the ball this off-season after struggling throughout 2020. Now, it is time to address their glaring offensive line needs. Someone needs to be able to protect Kirk Cousins, plus open holes in the run game for superstar back Dalvin Cook. With that said, the Vikings must address the front line in round one of the 2021 NFL Draft. And the good news for Minnesota is that at 14th overall, they will be a good selection of talent along the offensive line available.
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