Minnesota Vikings 7-round 2021 mock draft: Extremely early edition

(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) Rick Spielman
(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) Rick Spielman /
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Minnesota Vikings
Paris Ford – Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 3 Pick 1: Paris Ford, safety – Pittsburgh

Having to wait so long after the team’s first pick, the Minnesota Vikings finally got another chance to select a player. The team needs to find a starter next to Harrison Smith for when Anthony Harris moves on this offseason and that could be Paris Ford.

Ford was a playmaker for Pittsburgh, known for his ability to make a play on the ball. He only played in seven games in 2020 since he opted out, but in that time he intercepted three passes to go with 41 total tackles and three tackles for a loss.

He could shine in a Mike Zimmer defense, where he could be used to rush the passer or drop back into coverage. With some help cleaning up his tackling technique, the six-foot, 190-pound defensive back could mature into a huge asset for the Vikings.

Round 3 Pick 2: Jordan Smith, Edge – UAB

There is a lot to love about Jordan Smith. One look at him and it’s easy to fall in love with his length as he stands six-foot-seven and weighs 255 pounds. His long arms make him a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen and his commitment to getting stronger and working on his technique make him a great short-term project for Mike Zimmer.

Smith’s production at UAB is exceptional. In his 21 games played, the pass-rushing specialist accumulated 23.5 tackles for a loss, with 12.5 of those being sacks. His ability to disrupt things even if he doesn’t get to the quarterback is exactly what Minnesota was missing last season.

The fact Smith isn’t higher on draft boards is a bit confusing, but until he likely blows things up at the combine with his measurables he would be a great pick for the Minnesota Vikings in the third round.