‘Good chance’ Vikings go defense in first round of 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Kwity Paye
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Kwity Paye /

Will the Minnesota Vikings continue to add new pieces to their defense during the first few rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft?

Unsurprisingly, the Minnesota Vikings have placed the majority of their attention this offseason on fixing their defense.

After the poor performance from the Vikings defense in 2020, head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have made a number of notable moves this year to make sure the unit is much better next season.

With most of Minnesota’s free-agent signings coming from the defensive side of the ball, most have assumed the team will use their top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft on an offensive prospect. With Zimmer in charge though, this outcome is far from a guarantee.

Chances are good Minnesota Vikings add to defense with first pick in 2021 NFL Draft

Ben Goessling, who covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune, recently appeared on the Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio station, ESPN 99.1, and he was asked about the realistic directions Minnesota could head in with their top pick in this year’s draft.

"“Do they address the offensive line or does the voice in Rick Spielman’s ear saying, ‘get me some picks for my defense,” win out? I do think there’s a good chance that voice, which of course belongs to Mike Zimmer, is going to win out.”"

Just as few were surprised with the Vikings spending most of their money on defensive free agents this offseason, the team using their 2021 first-round pick to add even more talent to their defense isn’t much of a shock either.

Zimmer is a coach with a defensive background, so he’s not just going to sit around and let his bread and butter perform poorly again next season.

During Zimmer’s tenure with the franchise, Minnesota has been at their best when the defense ranks near the top of the NFL. The head coach knows the Vikings’ best chance for success in 2021 will likely depend on how much the defense can improve.

Which defensive position group Minnesota will target in the first round now becomes the question. Most would assume the Vikings go after an edge rusher to improve their pass rush. But maybe Minnesota selects a linebacker to replace Anthony Barr in 2022 or perhaps they add another corner with Jeff Gladney’s future currently in limbo.

We don’t have to wait much longer to find out, but it will definitely be interesting to see what the Vikings do with their top pick in this year’s draft.