3 out-of-the-box options for the Vikings in first round of the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr.
(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Kyle Pitts /

Which surprising prospects could the Minnesota Vikings target in the first round?

The NFL Draft is never as predictable as we may think, even with the Minnesota Vikings and their love for cornerbacks under Mike Zimmer.

The Vikings currently hold the 14th pick in the 2021 draft in a year that features a lot of enticing young studs. If they don’t trade back, who are some prospects Minnesota could take that may raise some eyebrows?

Kyle Pitts – TE (Florida)

2020 Stats:

  • 8 games
  • 43 catches
  • 770 yards
  • 12 TDs

A tight end in the first round is never an easy sell, but Kyle Pitts is one of the best pure receiving threats in this year’s draft class, including the talented wide receiver group.

Pitts was a star at Florida and he emerged as the clear top prospect at the position in 2020. He plays like a wide receiver, but he has the size and strength of a tight end, which is rare in someone this early in their career.

With Kyle Rudolph’s future up in the air, it makes sense to at least consider finding his replacement in the draft. Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin both stepped up in 2020 and formed an excellent receiving duo at tight end for the Vikings, but Pitts would add to that talent.

Minnesota needs a viable third receiver behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen next season. If one of them goes down, the Vikings’ passing game will fall apart completely. Pitts is a guy who can play outside or in the slot if he has to while also being capable of playing on the line as a tight end.

Pitts is not as far of a reach as he appears. The positional value might not be there for a tight end, but he is so much more than that in the passing game, and that’s what Minnesota needs more of moving forward.