Vikings trade up for a tight end in recent 2021 mock draft

(Photo by Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Pitts
(Photo by Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Pitts /

Pro Football Network has the Minnesota Vikings trading up to select Kyle Rudolph’s replacement in this year’s NFL Draft.

It’s been less than a week since the Minnesota Vikings made the tough decision to release longtime tight end, Kyle Rudolph. For the last 10 years, Rudolph was a leader in the Vikings locker room and the impact of his loss will likely be greater off the field than it will be on the field.

For the 2021 season, it looks like Minnesota will be rolling with Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin as their top two tight ends. Both Smith and Conklin showed promise last year and with another offseason, the pair could emerge as a productive tight end duo for the Vikings in 2021.

What if Minnesota isn’t satisfied with their current group of tight ends though? Could they look to improve the position group with an early-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft?

Minnesota Vikings trade up to select Kyle Pitts in recent 2021 mock draft

The 2021 draft pool is fairly weak when it comes to tight ends. Former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is one of the top-ranked prospects in the entire class and then there might be three or four tight ends worthy of ranking among the top-100 guys available in this year’s draft.

But speaking of Pitts, one recent online publication believes he could be someone that interests the Vikings. Pro Football Network’s AJ Schulte actually has Minnesota moving up in the first round to select the former Florida tight end with the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft.

In order to acquire the 10th overall selection, Schulte has the Vikings sending the Dallas Cowboys their first-round pick (14), a 2021 third-round selection (78), and a 2021 fourth-round pick. In addition to landing the No. 10 selection to draft Pitts, Minnesota also acquired a 2021 fifth-round pick from the Cowboys.

Pitts is currently the fourth-best prospect in this year’s draft pool according to The Draft Network’s latest rankings. So the Vikings would be adding a great weapon to their offense with the selection of the former Florida tight end.

But would giving up valuable assets to acquire a player that doesn’t fill a need be the best decision for Minnesota to make this year?