As the Minnesota Vikings look to bolster their talent base for a push back to the playoffs in 2021, here is how April’s draft may shake out for them.
The Kirk Cousins Era has not gone quite how the Minnesota Vikings envisioned when they signed him in March of 2018. They’ve got a 25-21-1 record in Cousins’ starts (25-22-1 overall), with one trip to the playoffs in three seasons. But alas, the Cousins era might be five seasons in total.
The Vikings are in the spot they always seem to be in. Not a legit Super Bowl contender, but never bad enough to pick in the top 5-10 of the first round and get a young franchise quarterback. This year will be no different, with the No. 14 pick in the first round, and as long as Mike Zimmer is the the head coach he’ll make every effort to never bottom out to 3-13 in a season.
In the draft, both sides of the line of scrimmage should wind up being a priority for the Vikings. Perhaps a third wide receiver or some additional pieces in the secondary would be on the radar too, should the board fall a certain way.
Note: This is the result of a mock I did on Pro Football Focus’ simulator on Feb. 16, 2021. Compensatory picks are included, though final location is still TBD. I didn’t try any trades, to make it more cut and dry.
Minnesota Vikings 7-Round 2021 Mock DraftRound 1
If Danielle Hunter’s season-long absence last season proved anything, it’s that the rest of Minnesota’s edge rushers are a bunch of J.A.G.s (Just. A. Guy.). Yannick Ngakoue only played six games for the Vikings in 2020, between being acquired from the Jaguars and being traded to the Ravens, but he led the team with five sacks.
Paye had a breakout season in 2019, with 6.5 sacks, 50 total tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss, but he came back for his senior season. He followed it with a second All-Big 10 season in 2020. (two sacks, four tackles for loss in four games). Matt Miller of The Draft Scout.com cited Paye’s versatility in touting him as a prospect.
“A standout along the Michigan defensive line, Paye was asked to line up in various positions from standing up over the center to putting his hand in the dirt outside the tackle. And he produced no matter the situation.”
Mock drafts right now have Paye going across a wide range in the first round. But if he’s there for the Vikings at 14, as he was for me, they’ll take him without question.