Why the Vikings will draft an edge rusher with their top pick in 2021

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Gregory Rousseau
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Gregory Rousseau /
2 of 4
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Dalvin Tomlinson /

Upgrading the defense has been the theme of the offseason

The Vikings have made it a point to upgrade their defense so far this offseason and there’s no reason to think they’ll switch gears now. Mike Zimmer was clearly, and obviously, embarrassed by his side of the ball’s performance, and their inability to stop even the most underwhelming offenses.

Minnesota has been aggressive in bringing in players like Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Stephen Weatherly, Mackensie Alexander, and Xavier Woods during free agency this year. They will also get Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, and Anthony Barr back on the field next season and suddenly, this unit is looking light years better than it did in January.

This is the side of the ball they have chosen to improve and this should continue in the early portions of the 2021 draft as well.

The Vikings couldn’t muster much of a pass rush last year without Danielle Hunter and their most productive pass rusher only played in six games. Zimmer isn’t going to go into next season with a question mark opposite Hunter.

Pass-rushing prospects like Michigan’s Kwity Paye, Miami’s Jaelan Philips, and even Miami’s Gregory Rousseau could all be prime targets for a team like Minnesota that is looking to finalize the overhaul of their defense.