2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Minnesota Vikings)

The most exciting week of the year and we finally made it. Lots of movement has happened since my initial mock but aside from any draft movements between now and Thursday, here is what I have for the 2021 draft and who will be waiting for the Minnesota Vikings at 14!

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence - QB - Clemson

So, not going to spend too much time here. To quote my Mock Draft 1.0 "Unless Urban Meyer thinks he knows something we don't... that's the pick for the Jags at #1."

2) New York Jets: Zack Wilson - QB - BYU

Now this one has changed a ton since my initial mock. But with the Jets shipping Darnold down to Carolina, this pretty much seems inevitable. But I will stand by what I said in the beginning... if you give any rookie QB the protection that Sam Darnold got in New York... unless you're a unique talent like Joe Burrow, you are going to struggle. The Jets do have a pick at 21 in the first round and for me I would say they have to grab OL and even move up if it means getting a guy like Slater, Darrisaw, or Vera Tucker if they fall.

3) San Francisco 49ers (from Miami via Houston): Mac Jones - QB - BAMA

This one is weird for me. But it also makes a ton of sense... if there is a guy that fits what Kyle Shanahan Loves to work with, it's Mac Jones!

4) Atlanta Falcons: Justin Fields - QB - Ohio State

What I fall into when prepping for the draft is defaulting to schools that seem to coach a certain position well AND have a track record of those positions translating to NFL play... now for Ohio State, the QB position does not have a good track record. But with the skill set that Justin Fields has, he truly is the best we've seen come out of that school. And why I like the Falcons taking him here is that Matt Ryan is still there! Brady, Rodgers, and Mahomes all sat behind NFL greats before being placed at the QB1 spot and look how well that's translated? I think if Justin Fields gives his skill set a year behind an NFL great and spend some time in the film room, that gives him the best shot at translating to the Quarterback of Atlanta's future. And I have said this before, but great QBs on rookie deals is the best way to build a championship roster. Because once that QB demands QB1 dollars... your cap hit looks super different.

However, if there is a win now and chips all in with Matt Ryan mindset - I could see them going Kyle Pitts here. But I just think it's time to shake things up, having Matt Ryan mentor Fields for a year would provide insurance for pick #4.

5) Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell - OL - Oregon

If any team benefitted from all the trades prior to the draft, it's the Bengals! I think Slater will be great, but Sewell is exactly the guy you want protecting the blind side of your #1 asset, Joe Burrow. So I have Sewell going here but he should have gone a lot higher in my opinion.

6) Miami Dolphins (from Philly): Ja'Marr Chase - WR - LSU

MIAMI! So in my initial mock draft I had the Dolphins going after Ja'Marr Chase but with them trading down with all the teams trying to grab the next young QB... they still get their guy. I love LSU receivers and giving this threat to Tua is exactly what they need.

7) Detroit Lions: Devonta Smith - WR - BAMA

Going back to my first mock: "One take I really like from CBS writer, Chris Trepasso in his CBS mock draft is that 'new GM Brad Holmes was with Jared Goff in LA for years.' So while a lot of mocks have the Lions taking Micah Parsons (Penn State LB), I think Holmes is going to try and give Goff as many weapons as he had in LAR, and with the injury problems for the current Lions WR group... this makes sense."

And especially with Golladay going to New York... this makes even more sense now.

8) Carolina Panthers: Kyle Pitts - TE - Florida

Once again, going back to my take in my Mock 1.0: "When you look around the league, the TE spot can be such a coverage nightmare for Defenses when you get the right one. And Pitts is that guy in this draft. Great pass catching ability, and this is a position that can be a cornerstone in an offense while you look for your franchise QB (Ex. Kittle with the Niners)."

9) Denver Broncos: Trey Lance - QB - NDSU

Going back to Justin Fields... his best shot for his game translating into the NFL is to not be thrown into the gauntlet too early. John Elway continuously does this, and while I think Trey Lance could be good in that same circumstance of studying behind an established vet, Elway will draft Lance and he will simply be the next QB in the forever revolving door of QBs that Elway continues to not set up for success.

10) Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II - CB - BAMA

I hope Surtain II goes here.. if he is there for pick 14, either Zimmer or DB coach Karl Scott from BAMA is snagging him. And with the Vikings getting back Alexander for the slot and Patrick Peterson providing a veteran presence in the trenches, CB is not our biggest need with our pass rush coming back stronger than ever.

11) New York Giants: Kwity Paye - DL - Michigan

Once again, I have spent the most time on this pick because I honestly don't know right now. A lot of D-Line on the board and I feel like Gettleman is trying to build out a stronger defense. However, Danny Dimes needs weapons and protection. Based off the best available... I am going for Kwity Paye. They can move him around the D-Line and I think the Giants historically do better when the Defense is at it's best.

It helps that they snagged Golladay, but I also see a need for the Giants to grab Slater since it looks like he could fall this far.

12) Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami via San Fran): Jaylen Waddle - WR - BAMA

This is where I see Waddle falling in the draft, and it makes the most sense for Philly. I could see them going Slater. But the bottom line, is that whatever pick they make, it will be to give Jalen Hurts the best chance at success in Philly.

13) LA Chargers: Rashawn Slater - OL - Northwestern

I did not have Slater falling this far in my 1st mock, but with all the QB hype, this seems very realistic and once again necessary for the Bolts to protect their #1 asset, Justin Herbert.

Now let's talk Vikings at 14!

Scenario #1: Christian Darrisaw - OT - VT

With all the movement up in the draft for QB talent, I did not think Christian Darrisaw would fall to this pick, and now this seems like a real possibility. And if he is there, we have to take him.

Ezra Cleveland has shown that he can hold down the guard spot, and with us having him fall into the second round to us last year, this would be a perfect plan to keep him there and have Darrisaw lock down the LT.

The problem with this pick is that honestly our LG play was terrible last year, which is why Vera Tucker would make a lot of sense here to fill that spot...

But with the Defense of Hunter, Pierce and newly acquired Tomlinson providing a pass rush to shrink the passing window... and you have Peterson in the trenches with our young Cornerback talent... the Vikings will not be this high in the draft next year and a shot at this type of Left Tackle will not happen unless you find a way to trade up.

Good Guards really start to fall in the late 1st round into the 2nd round, and we will be able to shore up that spot much easier next year when we have our 2nd round pick back.

Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech is 322 lbs with a 6-5 frame and is the most ready player at 14 to give Kirk the blindside protection he needs.

And injuries happen, so what makes our Ezra Cleveland pick even better is that he can fill in that Left Tackle spot in a bind so we have some flexibility there.

Scenario #2: Trade Back

So with Spielman, this has certainly worked out in the past. But whenever you trade back, I like to have a couple options to fall back on. So if our trade back goes to any of the following teams...

15) New England Patriots

16) Arizona Cardinals

17) Las Vegas Raiders

18 ) Miami Dolphins

19) Washington

20) Chicago Bears

21) Indianapolis Colts

22) Tennessee Titans

Scenario 2a: Alijah Vera-Tucker - OL - USC

If we can trade back in this range, I think you have a real shot at snagging Alijah Vera-Tucker who would most likely be a guard but has some upside to be a Tackle. And with us not entirely sure if Ezra Cleveland will pan out at Left Tackle, this gives us a little insurance policy on that front.

And if you can snag a 2nd rounder with a 1st round pick swap - we can grab another guard and give Kirk Cousins the protection he needs from the interior line!

But if we find a Trade Partner in the picks after the Titans:

23) New York Jets (from Seattle)

24) Pittsburgh Steelers

25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)

26) Cleveland Browns

27) Baltimore Ravens

28) New Orleans Saints

29) Green Bay Packers

30) Buffalo Bills

31) Baltimore Ravens (from KC)

32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scenario 2b: Gregory Rosseau - EDGE - MIAMI

I think there is a lot of truth to doubling down on where your strength is. And if your D-Line is:

DE - Danielle Hunter

DT - Michael Pierce

DT - Dalvin Tomlinson

DE - Gregory Rosseau

OH BABY!! That would be terrifying.

And let's be honest, our Defense has looked great under Zimmer. The problem we have struggled to solve is over exposure of our defense as a result of our offense not being able to sustain long drives to give our Defense a breather.

This would be a round about way to address this problem, when you could just go O-Line. But this front 4 honestly might be powerful enough to address that problem as well.

And if you trade this far back into the 1st round, it makes it even more likely to acquire a second rounder. And if we get that draft stock, it will be even easier for us to grab Guards in the 2nd and 3rd round which is exactly what we need! So this could be a good WIN-WIN for both sides of the ball.

Later Rounds:

Now aside from any 2nd rounder the Vikings may come across if they trade back in the 1st round... here are some players I like for the 3rd round and beyond:

Round 3:

78a) Ben Cleveland - G - Georgia

- Cleveland would definitely be a bit of a black sheep with our athletic run blocking group. But the Guard is 343 lbs and has a 6-6 frame! NFL Combine describes him as:

- Adequate athleticism for a guard with his build.

- Mass to occupy defender on quick-hitting run plays.

- Power and length to protect his edge.

The reason why I would not mind this is that he is from Georgia, and Georgia has a decent track record with O-Lineman so even if he's not a perfect fit - I just want a 3rd round hit on a guard.

78b) Trey Smith - G - Tennessee

- This is a player who shows more athleticism than Ben Cleveland but is a bit more raw. They describe him as very strong but lacks technique. But what I like on his scouting report is:

- Knock Back Pop on both 1st and 2nd levels.

- Good job running and finding targets on short pulls.

- Elite size and length for position.

- Sets a very firm anchor against bull rushers.

We know Dalvin Cook can make people miss in tight spaces, so my biggest thing is making sure Kirk Cousins can step into his throws without the pocket collapsing in front of him. These guys will not be the most athletic in the group, but I think they could be athletic enough to be an upgrade from last year.

90a) Dayo Odeyingbo - DE - Vanderbilt

- 6 ft - 5 in. and 285 lbs with a wingspan of just over 35 inches. Scouts compare him to a Montez Sweat type of player and here is why I like him:

- Offers rush potential from all over the Defensive Line.

- Operates with forceful hands to displace block.

- Uses wingspan to stab and swivel around tackle with complete separation.

- Outstanding blend of height, weight, and length.

- Has potential to fit a variety of schemes and alignments

Now what I like about this is the ability for Zimmer to do what he did against the Saints in 2019 with moving Everson and Hunter to the inside. OBVIOUSLY, I don't think we will be doing as much of that with Tomlinson and Pierce clogging the middle, but from a blitz creativity standpoint... I think Dayo gives Zimmer a fun option to play with.

And if the Vikings do not get Rosseau in the 1st round, I would really like Dayo with pick 90.

90b) Tommy Tremble - TE - Notre Dame

- With Rudolph gone.. why not go right back to the well and get another Notre Dame TE? I love what we have been seeing from Irv Smith Jr. but I would love to add this player into the offensive front and here are some things I love on his scouting report:

- Feisty play demeanor suits his love for contact.

- Activated as a blocker from a variety of formations.

- Uses athletic talent to gain positioning after initial strike.

- Accelerates and crashes into targets as lead blocker.

- Smooth block-to-block transition to open the edge for outside run.

- Blocking talent opens up play action opportunities.

- Basketball movement for easy route adjustments in traffic.

What I really started to love from Rudolph in the last 2 years is his improved blocking ability. And Tremble definitely looks to have that strength out of the gate. Notre Dame has had some great TEs in recent years so his sample size is small - but he does show athletic potential that he can grow into while Irv Smith Jr. takes on more of that role.

Now I could dive into our picks in the 4th, 5th and 6th round but lets be honest... one Raiders pick from the Davis camp can turn a draft upside down. So I am going to stop here.

Can't wait for Thursday and love the options the Vikings have at pick 14 and beyond!