Why the Vikings did not select Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft
By Adam Patrick
The Minnesota Vikings reportedly had interest in taking former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft.
During the three days of this year’s NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings were able to add a number of talented new players to their roster for the upcoming 2021 season.
One of the most intriguing selections made by the Vikings this past weekend happened in the third round when they grabbed former Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond.
While Minnesota was happy to land Mond, they apparently had an interest in picking a different quarterback during the first round of the 2021 draft.
Picking Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft was reportedly a possibility for the Minnesota Vikings
With this year’s first-round draft selection, the Vikings went with former Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Minnesota is excited about his arrival and he should help the team’s offensive line make great improvements next season. But the team almost went in a much different direction with their 2021 first-round pick.
Before they eventually agreed to trade back in the first round, the Vikings reportedly “made an effort” to move up in the first round to select former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields according to the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling on Monday.
Goessling added that no trade to pick Fields ended up happening because Minnesota wasn’t willing to “drop everything to get him.” In addition, Goessling shared that some people on the Vikings staff liked “Mond as much as Fields.”
So basically, since some of those involved in making the draft decisions for Minnesota didn’t see much of a difference between Mond and Fields, the team wasn’t will to make a huge change to their 2021 and 2022 draft capital to land a young passer with similar abilities to someone they could wait and grab in the third round.
It sounds like the Vikings were really only going to consider drafting Fields if he was still on the board when the team was originally scheduled to make their first selection of the draft at pick No. 14.
The Chicago Bears ended up being the team who traded up to draft Fields this year. To move up in the first round, the Bears had to give up their 2021 first-rounder (20), a 2021 fifth-rounder (164), a 2022 first-rounder, and a 2022 fourth-rounder to the New York Giants.
Minnesota was likely fine with swapping 2021 first-round picks with the Giants or whatever team was going to allow them to trade up. But the 2022 first-rounder being part of the required compensation is probably what prevented the Vikings from pulling the trigger on a possible deal to move up and draft Fields.
With a number of talented college prospects returning to school for next season, the 2022 NFL Draft is expected to feature a lot more talent than what was available in this year’s draft. Knowing this, combined with the fact that Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman values draft picks like they’re his own kids, they weren’t going to agree to a trade that required them to give up a 2022 first-rounder for someone who could potentially sit for the next two seasons.
Instead, the Vikings kept this year’s first-round pick, used it in a trade with the New York Jets that resulted in them landing Darrisaw and Mond.
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It’s a move that has the potential to actually provide them with more success in the future than the outcome that might have resulted from them trading up to draft Fields.