5 needs the Vikings could double-dip at during the 2021 NFL Draft
By Nik Edlund
Defensive end was a huge problem for the Vikings in 2020. They simply couldn’t get to the quarterback and the time opposing signal-callers had in the pocket to find the open man against the young cornerbacks was just plain silly.
Minnesota does get Danielle Hunter back for next season and that is huge. They also re-signed Stephen Weatherly and they have the promising D.J. Wonnum primed to take a step forward in his second year with the team. While these three are exciting, the depth behind them is lacking.
Jalyn Holmes couldn’t cash in on the opportunities he was given a season ago. It’s a mild surprise he hasn’t been released, but he is a long shot to make the Vikings’ final 2021 roster. Jordan Brailford had some moments, but he can’t be counted on to have an impact, and Kenny Willekes is coming off an ACL injury so who knows how effective he can be.
Minnesota doesn’t have a solid starter opposite Hunter at this point for next season and they could look to find one at pick No. 14 in the first round.
Guys like Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseau, and Jaelan Phillips could all be options for the Vikings with their top selection. While going this route might not be popular with fans, the trend so far this offseason has been to improve this defense, and that could carry over into the draft.
If Minnesota does get an edge rusher at pick No. 14, they could look to add to that depth again with one of their fourth-round choices. Penn State’s Shaka Toney is an underrated pass rusher with a great motor and drive, and Duke’s Victor Dimukeje is a smart and strong player with a ton of upside. Both of these prospects would be huge boosts to the quality of depth at this position for the Vikings.