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 Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah /

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB (Notre Dame)

2020 Stats:

  • 12 games
  • 62 tackles (11 for a loss)
  • 1.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
  • 1 interception

There are two hybrid linebackers that could make sense for the Vikings in the first round this year. Micah Parsons was a game-changer at Penn State, and he projects to do more of that in the NFL, but he is probably more of a 3-4 linebacker at the next level.

Instead of Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could be in the mix for the Vikings as a chess piece at the second level.

While Parsons is more of a pass rusher and run stopper, Owusu-Koramoah is a lighter linebacker who can serve as a box safety. Given Minnesota’s anticipated need at safety this offseason, this would not be a horrible draft selection depending on how the board falls.

Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks should return next season, but the Vikings were still putrid in the middle of the defense last season after injuries derailed the linebacker room. Adding a player like Owusu-Koramoah would give Mike Zimmer an explosive playmaker who flies to the ball and is a high-impact weapon.

Kendricks can stay inside at the middle linebacker spot while getting two fiery players beside him and alleviating some of the pressure he withstood in 2020. This would also open things up for Barr to blitz and rush the quarterback, which has been a strong suit of his throughout his career.