Vikings beef up their defensive line in recent 2021 mock draft

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Christian Barmore
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Christian Barmore /

As exciting as it might be for the Minnesota Vikings to add another talented playmaker to their offense in the 2021 NFL Draft, improving their defense will likely be the team’s top priority when it comes to their early-round selections.

Minnesota’s defensive line is actually one of the position groups that needs the most help. The Vikings struggled to generate much of a pass rush in 2020, and stopping the run was far from a strength of the four guys up front.

With Minnesota not expected to have a ton of salary cap space this year, much of their roster improvements will probably come from their selections in the draft.

Minnesota Vikings pick talented defensive tackle in 2021 mock draft

For the 2021 season, defensive end Danielle Hunter and nose tackle Michael Pierce are expected to return to the field for the Vikings. So that leaves Minnesota left figuring out who will be their other starting defensive end and who will be their starting three-technique.

In a recent 2021 mock draft from CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson, the Vikings filled one of these two openings on the defensive line with the No. 14 pick in the first round when they selected former Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore.

Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Barmore is coming off a 2020 season at Alabama in which he racked up 37 tackles (9.5 for a loss), eight sacks, and three forced fumbles.

During his time in college, the young defensive tackle was a much better pass rusher than a run stopper. But improving against the run is definitely something Minnesota could easily work on with Barmore if he were to land in the Twin Cities.

If Pierce can live up to his expectations, the combination of him and Barmore in the middle of the Vikings’ defensive line would be a lethal one. Along with Hunter’s expected return, Minnesota’s pass rush would be vastly improved in 2021 if they wound up with the Alabama defensive tackle in this year’s NFL Draft.