Vikings Draft 2021: Four-round mock draft after big free agency signings

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Trey Sermon
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Trey Sermon /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Kwity Paye /

First Round (No. 14 overall)

Kwity Paye – DE (Michigan)

An offensive lineman, whether it is a guard or tackle, has kind of become the “obvious” pick for the Vikings with the 14th overall selection, but a pass rusher is very much still on the table.

Not only is it still on the table, but with Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer clearly focused on improving his defense this offseason, which has been evident with the signings the Vikings have made so far, it is very likely they continue to address the defensive side of the ball early in the draft.

In this scenario, Miami’s Gregory Rousseau was already off the board, so Minnesota opted to go with Michigan’s Kwity Paye, who is a pass-rushing force in his own right.

Paye doesn’t possess the rare size that Rousseau has, but he has a relentless motor, and he knows how to use his hands to get off blocks.

Paye also has a longer track record than Rousseau, having been productive at Michigan for the last three seasons where he’s racked up 10.5 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss. He may not have Rousseau’s high ceiling, but his floor is higher, which makes him a much safer choice.

While the Vikings brought back Stephen Weatherly after he was released by the Carolina Panthers, they have to realize he’s better suited for a situational role. This leaves the door open for a first-round rookie edge rusher to start in 2021 and Paye definitely has all the traits to make an impact on day one.