Vikings Draft 2021: Realistic three-round mock draft

(Photo by Sam Craft/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Kellen Mond
(Photo by Sam Craft/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Kellen Mond /
2 of 4
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports) Kwity Paye /

First Round (Pick No. 19)

Kwity Paye – DE (Michigan)

Even with the Vikings expecting Danielle Hunter to be back on the field next season, Mike Zimmer will still want to use an early draft pick this year to improve the team’s pass rush.

Kwity Paye is a violent pass rusher whose playing style might remind some Minnesota fans of Everson Griffen or John Randle. This isn’t to say Paye is a guaranteed future Hall of Famer like Randle, but his aggressive relentlessness is something that separates him from the other edge rushers available in this year’s draft.

Paye wasn’t a guy who put up monster stats during his time at Michigan (6.5 sacks was his single-season career-high). But he still displayed plenty of ability on the field to suggest he can excel at the NFL level.

A few years ago, the Vikings took a chance on Hunter despite his lack of statistical production in college. He’s turned out to be a pretty decent player for Minnesota.

With Paye, the Vikings can do a variety of things in 2021. They can plug him in as their other starting defensive end or they can give him more time to develop and use him more as a situational pass-rushing weapon.

Either way, adding Paye to their defensive line will immediately give Minnesota the chance to get back to being one of the top pass-rushing teams in the league.