Vikings Draft 2021: Seven-round pre-free agency mock draft

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) K.J. Costello
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) K.J. Costello /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press) Kwity Paye /

First Round (Pick No. 14)

Kwity Paye – DE (Michigan)

In 2020, the Vikings’ pass rush was flat-out embarrassing. Obviously, not having Danielle Hunter or Everson Griffen on each edge of the defensive line had an impact. But few could have predicted how poorly Minnesota performed last season when it came to getting to the opposing quarterback.

There could be some talented offensive tackles on the board when it comes time for the Vikings to make their first pick of the draft and the recent release of Riley Reiff would make these prospects enticing.

But Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t going to sit quietly when it comes to fixing his defense this offseason, which is why they will use their top 2021 selection on former Michigan pass rusher Kwity Paye.

Paye is a relentless defender who forced himself into the opposing backfield to make a play numerous times throughout his college career. He’s got the frame (6-foot-4, 277 pounds) and the talent to make an immediate impact as a rookie, which is exactly what Minnesota needs from their first-round pick in 2021.