NFL Draft Preview: Minnesota

By Adam Roberts – 4/27/2021

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin is truly a treasure to have access to as an affiliate of ESPN Radio. Her insight into the Vikings, and the rest of the league for that matter, has been incredibly valuable. And that value increases dramatically during draft season, when you want to have access to someone who can really dial in to what the front office is thinking about heading into Round One.

Despite most believing that the team is looking to improve its offense this draft, there are some who wonder if the team will look once again to its defense after a 2020 season in which head coach Mike Zimmer described the defense as the worst he’s had with the Vikings. However, as Courtney broke down yesterday on The Sports Lead, there are glaring needs on offense for Minnesota, particularly the offensive line. As John as discussed before, this part of the team is vital to the success of quarterback Kirk Cousins, who can make magic happen inside the pocket with proper protection, but begins to disintegrate to mid-tier QB status outside the tackles.

Cronin suggested that Minnesota could be looking to move either forward or back from pick #14 in Round One, depending on what the front office determines its most pressing need is. Should they want to pursue a top-rated tackle or other lineman, they probably will need to trade up from 14, but if they want to try and get the best of both worlds with a late first round talent on defense and then a developmental offensive line piece they may trade back. It makes for good draft show content for us either way, so we wouldn’t mind much one way or the other.

However, IF they do stay at 14, it’s possible that Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield, or USC’s  Alijah Vera-Tucker might still be around depending on how QB-hungry teams in front of Minnesota are. ESPN’s Todd McShay likes Vera-Tucker’s versatility, even if he’s best fit as a guard, and we think Rashawn Slater of Northwestern won’t be around at 14.

Prediction: G Alija Vera-Tucker, USC