NFL Draft day is upon us and that means, starting at 7 PM CT, we’ll get 32 dudes drafted into their first full-time job as professional football players. Beyond that, however, there are only two things guaranteed about tonight’s first round. Unless something crazy transpires, Trevor Lawrence is being drafted first overall to Jacksonville and Zach Wilson is expected to be a New York Jet at pick-two. After that, anything could happen and that’s why we have no idea who the Minnesota Vikings will have their choice of down at #14.
But through the smoke screens and late steam, there are a few things to keep an eye out for as Thursday afternoon becomes Thursday evening. This blog is about the Vikings’ first round possibilities but it’s the ammunition they currently hold for later rounds that lends to the variety of outcomes tonight could hold. Minnesota doesn’t have a 2nd round pick coming in but they do hold (2) 3rd’s, (4) 4th’s and (2) 5th’s.
"To have the draft capital that we have, it gives us a lot of flexibility, hopefully, to move up in the draft if we want to go do that." – GM Rick Spielman pic.twitter.com/PCGmJKP7Uk— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 27, 2021
Vikings Have been Tied to Every Top OL on Board
You could blindly throw a dart at the offensive linemen expected to go early in this draft and you’re guaranteed to hit one that the Vikings are rumored to be interested in at some level. But there are three or four guys to really keep an eye on.
Ben Goessling (Star Tribune) says Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech – OT) is the o-lineman they want but other insiders have them more interested in the flexibility of someone like Alijah Vera-Tucker. Some see the USC lineman as an eventual LT but just about everyone thinks he can start at guard immediately. That’s if one Big Ten tackle doesn’t fall to the Vikings or… they trade up for him?
If the Vikings move up, its MOST LIKELY for Rashawn Slater
There has been some talk of Rick Spielman doing the unthinkable, and moving up from #14 to target Northwestern left tackle, Rashawn Slater. Both Chad Graff (The Athletic) and Paul Allen (KFAN) have mentioned Slater as the target, should Minnesota look to jump up the draft board.
Don’t Get Overly Focused on OL
The Minnesota Vikings desperately need offensive line help but that doesn’t mean they’re going to draft offensive line with their first pick. It’s a very deep draft along the offensive line and Spielman has a lot of spots he’s trying to sure up. He’s said himself that “no position is off limits” with their first pick.
At the end of the day, what happens in front of them will dictate what the Vikings do at #14. There are some players to watch, if they fall. The list includes Patrick Surtain II (Alabama – CB) and a couple of QB’s who have been projected to fall by different experts. Spielman’s reportedly done a lot of extra research in general on this year’s crop of QB’s. He watched both Trey Lance (NDSU) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) in-person. Again, these guys are expected to be off the board in the top-10, but if any start to fall, keep your antennas up.
Trading Down an Option too
If Rick Spielman decides to move out of #14, it’s most likely that he trades back. From where the mock drafts are trending today, it seems unlikely that the Vikings would get their shot at a tier-one (or two depending where you look) offensive linemen. The top-4 (Sewell, Slater, Darrisaw, Vera-Tucker) are expected to be off the board by #15.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan