3 biggest needs for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Jaylen Waddle
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Jaylen Waddle /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Jaylen Waddle /

Need No. 3

No. 3 Reciever

Surely the Vikings don’t need another passing weapon in a run-first offense, right? Justin Jefferson just had an incredible rookie season that also featured the rise of tight end Tyler Conklin in the team’s passing attack. Plus, Dalvin Cook proved once again that he is one of the best running backs in the NFL, despite suspect play from Minnesota’s offensive guards all year long.

That poor guard play would lend its hand to the Vikings taking an offensive lineman in the 2021 draft, which they could, but it should not be their top priority heading into the war room.

Draft gems can be found throughout the event, especially interior offensive linemen. Waiting patiently and finding a guard with one of their multiple third or fourth-round picks would be smart for Minnesota.

Instead, the Vikings should focus on finding a reliable third wide receiver who can eventually become the No. 2 option behind Jefferson.

Adam Thielen will be 31-years-old before next season and Minnesota needs to start planning for a future without him. He is still a very good receiver, but age will take its toll sooner or later. Replacing him with a stud who can make an immediate impact while learning from one of the league’s best duos would be an insane win for the Vikings.

Jaylen Waddle broke his ankle at Alabama this past season and it opened the door for DeVonta Smith to emerge as the top receiver in the 2021 draft. Ja’Marr Chase, Jefferson’s teammate at LSU, is another uber-talented prospect that would make sense for Minnesota. But I really like Waddle, more so than I probably should.

Waddle is a great contested-ball catcher with elite speed and a great burst in space. His quick feet allow him to beat defenders to the edge and turn short gains into home runs. He is also a dynamic return man, which the Vikings have been trying to find for a few years now.

Of course, Minnesota could also wait and find someone later, such as Dyami Brown (North Carolina) or Amari Rodgers (Clemson). Adding a playmaker who can make the most of manufactured touches would be much more valuable than sending Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson out during three or four-receiver sets again in 2021.