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Vikings 2021 Mock Draft Tracker: Version 1.0

Kwity Paye, Michigan
Kwity Paye, Michigan

EAGAN, Minn. — It's that time of year again.

The Vikings currently have the 14th overall pick after Minnesota went 7-9 in 2020, finishing in third place in the NFC North.

Minnesota has drafted at No. 14 overall twice in team history, doing so in back-to-back years in 1986 and 1987.

The Vikings currently hold 10 overall picks. Minnesota does not have a second-rounder, but has a pair of third-round selections.

The 2021 NFL Draft is slated to be held from April 29 to May 1. The first round will be on April 29, followed by Rounds 2 and 3 on April 30 and the final four rounds on May 1.

Here is the first version of our Vikings 2021 Mock Draft Tracker, which includes 12 recent predictions from across the football world.

All but one of the dozen pundits have the Vikings looking to boost their defense, which finished 29th in points allowed per game (29.7) and 27th overall in yards allowed per game (393.3).

A majority of the experts project an edge rusher to Minnesota, with Miami's Gregory Rousseau the most popular name at the moment.

Here's a look at our first Vikings 2021 Mock Draft Tracker:

ESPN's Todd McShay

Jan. 7, 2021

The predicted first-round pick: Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech


Ezra Cleveland, last year's second-rounder, has helped the offensive line, but the Vikings still need a dominant tackle. They were one of 12 teams that allowed quarterback pressure on at least 30 percent of their dropbacks. Darrisaw is a talented left tackle who has power as a pass protector and can get to the second level to help block for Dalvin Cook in Minnesota's zone run schemes. Other possibilities might include pass-rush aid — the Vikings had the fifth-fewest sacks in 2020 with 23 — or a safety.

Click here for McShay's full mock draft.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic

Jan. 12, 2021

The predicted first-round pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami


The lack of a consistent pass rush by the Vikings will eat at Mike Zimmer all offseason. The organization might be in position to draft the top pass rusher on its board, and that could be Rousseau, who has the length, flexibility and upside to blossom in Minnesota.

Click here for Brugler's full mock draft.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports

Jan. 12, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Rousseau had 15.5 sacks last season, but few of them came off the edge. The good news is that as a converted WR he's still new to the position and he's only going to get better.

Click here for Wilson's full mock draft.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports

Jan. 11, 2021

The predicted pick: Jaelan Phillips, DT, Miami

Phillips is a fluid athlete with jolting hands and plays with a non-stop motor. Mike Zimmer will love him.


Click here for Trapasso's full mock draft.

Josh Edwards of CBS Sports

Jan. 7, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Minnesota is an interesting team in need of some change this offseason. The roster has a lot of aged players and they are not close to contending. Gregory Rousseau is a blue-chip capable player that could swing the narrative back in their favor.

Click here for Edwards' full mock draft.

Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus

Jan. 4, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Rousseau is basically the dream prospect for what the Vikings have coveted at the defensive end position. He has uncoachable tools for days, but due to his opt-out, we didn't get to see him take his dominance to the next level in 2020 like some others. That may make him underrated come draft time.

Click here for Renner's full mock draft.

Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus

Jan. 11, 2021

The predicted pick: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

No team produced a lower pass-rush grade or pressure rate in the 2020 NFL season than Minnesota. Vikings fans, let me introduce you to Kwity Paye — A.K.A. the top edge rusher in the class. Paye only played in four games this past season but was still able to rack up 22 pressures and an 87.1 pass-rush grade. He is an athletic freak and showed signs of improvement from a technical standpoint in 2020.

Click here for Treash's full mock draft.

Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports

Dec. 17, 2020

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

Raise your hand if, back in July, you thought the Vikings' top-four snap leaders on the edge would be Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jalyn Holmes, D.J. Wonnum and Hercules Mata'afa. No one needs to put their hands down after reading that.

The Vikings will get Danielle Hunter and Kenny Willekes back from Injured Reserve next year, but it sure would be nice to have another pass rusher in the bullpen. Enter Rousseau, the wonderfully gifted talent who opted out of this season and stood on his 15.5-sack [redshirt] freshman performance while entering the draft.

League opinions are more ambivalent on him. Rousseau remains a project until proven otherwise. When projects are 6-foot-6, 260 pounds and ooze talent, they tend to go high.

Click here for Edholm's full mock draft.

Joe Marino of The Draft Network

Jan. 7, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami

The Vikings are a team in transition after saying goodbye to some key veterans in recent years and restocking the roster through the draft. Minnesota is loaded with draft capital once again in 2021 and it's important for the early picks to be used on high-upside prospects at premium positions. While Rousseau has plenty of room to improve technically to take advantage of his physical gifts, he's a high-ceiling defensive lineman that has the potential to become a difference-maker in the NFL if everything comes together..

Click here for Marino's full mock draft.

Brentley Weissman of The Draft Network

Jan. 10, 2021

The predicted pick: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan

Offensive tackle was very much in consideration here, but I just can't imagine Mike Zimmer not wanting to address a defense that he called the worst he has ever coached. One reason this defense was so bad was because they really struggled rushing the passer. Now, this is mainly due to star edge rusher Danielle Hunter being out with injury, but this team still needs to add more juice off the edge. Michigan's Kwity Paye is a very talented edge defender who has the burst and strength to be a force coming off the corner.

Click here for Weissman's full mock draft.

James Dator of SB Nation

Jan. 4, 2021

The predicted pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Goodness, where do we begin on this one? The Vikings need a lot of help on defense. In fact, they need a lot of help everywhere — but with questionable options on the OL I have them addressing the mammoth problems with the secondary.

Patrick Surtain II has the pedigree, and the talent to start fixing those issues.

Click here for Dator's full mock draft.

Ian Wharton of Complex Sports

Jan. 4, 2021

The predicted pick: Patrick Jones II, Edge, Pittsburgh

A primary edge rusher is a massive need even with Danielle Hunter coming back from injury. Enter Jones.

He is a speedy presence who is dominated his competition this year. He has one of the fastest get-offs in the class and that could lead to an early impact on a team that has snaps to give on passing downs.

Click here for Wharton's full mock draft.