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Vikings 2021 Mock Draft Tracker: Version 3.0

Azeez Ojulari, Edge Rusher, Georgia
Azeez Ojulari, Edge Rusher, Georgia

EAGAN, Minn. — The wheels of the NFL offseason are churning toward the start of the new league year.

Free agency officially begins at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 17, but there's also a major focus on the draft.

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.

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.

Here is the third edition of our Vikings 2021 Mock Draft Tracker, which includes 16 predictions from across the football world.

A dozen of those experts project a defensive player to the Vikings, with edge rusher being mentioned 11 times. The other four predictions are on offense, including one wide receiver at No. 14 overall.

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

ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr.

Feb. 25, 2021

The predicted pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, Tackle/Guard, Southern California

I'll stick with Vera-Tucker here because of his versatility. He played guard before moving to left tackle for USC last season. He impressed there and rocketed up draft boards. I think he'll probably stick at tackle in the NFL. We know coach Mike Zimmer will always push for the Vikings to draft a defender, and this could also be a spot for a pass-rusher or defensive back.

Click here for Kiper's full mock draft.'s Daniel Jeremiah

Feb. 16, 2021

The predicted pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

The Vikings have holes to fill on defense, but they could give Kirk Cousins a heck of a trio by adding Smith to a receiving corps that already includes Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

Click here for Jeremiah's full mock draft.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama's Charley Casserly

Feb. 25, 2021

The predicted pick: Jaelan Phillips, Edge Rusher, Miami

The offensive line is a priority in Minnesota, but pass rush is a bigger need right now.

Click here for Casserly's full mock draft.

Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus

Feb. 15, 2021

The predicted pick: Christian Darrisaw, Tackle, Virginia Tech

Darrisaw is one of the bigger college football breakouts in 2020. A former three-star recruit out of Maryland, Darrisaw has improved his grade from 68.6 starting at left tackle in 2018 up to 95.6 playing the same position in 2020. The 6-foot-5, 350-pounder earned himself some money this season, for sure.

Click here for Gayle's full mock draft.

Chad Graff of The Athletic

Feb. 25, 2021

The predicted pick: Kwity Paye, Edge Rusher, Michigan

Coach Mike Zimmer said after a disappointing season that the Vikings had to improve their pass rush. Paye provides a big help in that department. His three-cone drill was off the charts, which the Vikings love, a demonstration of the athleticism that made Paye the "freakiest" athlete in college football, according to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore was awfully tempting here considering how bad the Vikings interior defensive line was, and they surely would consider trading down with no defensive linemen off the board yet. But if we have to take someone at No. 14, we're going with Paye to improve the pass rush.

Click here for The Athletic's full mock draft.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports

March 1, 2021

The predicted pick: Kwity Paye, Edge Rusher, Michigan

The Vikings have needs along the interior defensive line and offensive line, but it would be hard to pass up a pass rusher like Paye, who is only scratching the surface on his ability.

Click here for Wilson's full mock draft.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports

Feb. 24, 2021

The predicted pick: Christian Darrisaw, Tackle, Virginia Tech

If Riley Reiff is a cap casualty, Darrisaw would be an exquisite fit in the Vikings zone-blocking scheme.

Click here for Trapasso's full mock draft.

Josh Edwards of CBS Sports

Feb. 25, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

The Vikings showed their cards last offseason when they aggressively pursued a trade for Yannick Ngakoue. Although that particular situation did not work out, the team still has a gaping hole to fill at the edge rusher position. Gregory Rousseau is still working to reach his full potential but that should be exciting for the Vikings because he has a really promising baseline.

Click here for Edwards' full mock draft.

Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports

Feb. 16, 2021

The predicted pick: Azeez Ojulari, Edge Rusher, Georgia

This team needs to get an explosive edge player to go with Danielle Hunter. Ojulari is that type of player, although he would need to beef up some in their scheme.

Click here for Prisco's full mock draft.

The Ringer's Danny Kelly

Feb. 18, 2021

The predicted pick: Kwity Paye, Edge Rusher, Michigan

I'm guessing having such a bad defense drove Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer crazy last year. The team can take a big step toward correcting that issue here, grabbing a twitched-up edge rusher in Paye ― a long, highly athletic defender who resembles the guy he'd be lining up across from in Danielle Hunter.

Click here for Kelly's full mock draft.

Nate Davis of USA TODAY

Feb. 22, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

The Vikes had an NFC-low 23 sacks in 2020, longtime coach Mike Zimmer saying of his defense: "worst one I've ever had." Rousseau, who's 20, had 15.5 sacks in 2019, winning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors before opting out in 2020. His 6-7 frame also makes him a threat to bat down balls when he can't get to the quarterback. He and Danielle Hunter could form scary bookends in a division ruled by Aaron Rodgers.

Click here for Davis' full mock draft.

Doug Farrar of USA TODAY

Feb. 26, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

Last season, the Vikings had just 23 sacks and 186 total pressures — both numbers ranked in the NFL's bottom five. A precipitous drop from the 48 sacks and 263 pressures Minnesota had in 2019, and given Head Coach Mike Zimmer's defensive acumen, you'd assume he'd want to do something about that.

At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Rousseau is built like a very [angry] power forward, and his positional versatility is a big plus. Though he projects obviously as an edge defender with his athleticism, he's also more than capable of kicking inside and providing quarterback disruption between the tackles. He also has the range to cover tight ends and slot receivers on zone drops.

Rousseau will need to work on his array of hand moves and counters — like most top-level collegiate defensive linemen, he was able to skate by to a degree on his freakish physical gifts. Give him a year and a whole lot of coaching, and you could see his 2019 numbers (15.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, 24 quarterback hurries and 21 run stops) start to transfer to the NFL.

Click here for Farrar's full mock draft.

Brentley Weissman of The Draft Network (three rounds)

Feb. 18, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

Minnesota needs to address both sides of the line of scrimmage and starts here on the defensive side of the football with Rousseau. Rousseau is the best pass rusher in this class and has the length, quickness, and flexibility to be a double-digit sack artist relatively early in his career. The team swung and missed with their acquisition of Yannick Ngakoue, so adding Rousseau makes up for it.

The predicted pick at No. 78: James Hudson, Tackle, Cincinnati

The predicted pick at No. 90: Andre Cisco, Safety, Syracuse

Click here for Weissman's full mock draft.

Drae Harris of The Draft Network (three rounds)

Feb. 26, 2021

The predicted pick: Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

The Vikings regressed this past season. This was due in part to the lackluster play of their offensive and defensive lines. Defensively, they weren't able to generate the pressure inside they had hoped. Barmore is a big, explosive athlete who should instantly make that defensive line better.

The predicted pick at No. 78: Jabril Cox, Linebacker, LSU

The predicted pick at No. 90: Israel Mukuamu, Cornerback, South Carolina

Click here for Harris' full mock draft.

Trevor Sikkema of The Draft Network

March 1, 2021

The predicted pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami

This one goes against history a bit, as the Vikings have not drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since Sharrif Floyd in 2013. In fact, they haven't drafted a defensive lineman since the third round of any draft since they drafted Danielle Hunter in 2015.

Rousseau could be a tendency breaker for them, though. They have needs at [edge rusher] and along the interior of their defensive line. Rousseau gives them that versatility to be a plus addition at both.

Click here for Sikkema's full mock draft.

Matthew Valdovinos of Pro Football Network (three rounds)

Feb. 28, 2021

The predicted pick at No. 14: Kwity Paye, Edge Rusher, Michigan

The Vikings have a desperate need for talent on the defensive line, whether on the edge opposite Danielle Hunter or the interior. They select what many view as the top edge rusher in the 2021 class, Kwity Paye.

Paye is a dominant run defender whose motor runs hot 24/7. The explosion he plays with at 270+ pounds is truly rare, and he would be an excellent option to pair with Hunter. The retooling of Mike Zimmer's defense gets another quality piece.

The predicted pick at No. 78: Tylan Wallace, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State

The predicted pick at No. 90: Bobby Brown, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State

Click here for Valdovinos' full mock draft.