5 biggest surprises by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Kellen Mond
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Kellen Mond /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Chazz Surratt /

Drafting a linebacker in the third round

As the 2021 NFL Draft approached, the Vikings had a pretty long list of needs. At the top of those were guard, offensive tackle, safety, and defensive end. One that wasn’t universally seen as a major issue was linebacker, yet the team chose one in the third round anyway.

This was surprising considering the players Minnesota is getting back from injury this season. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are both returning from injuries, and Troy Dye as well, who missed large periods of time last season with a variety of dings.

The Vikings also went out and signed free-agent Nick Vigil this year, and they already have Blake Lynch on the roster, who, despite being an undrafted free agent in 2020, played well in the limited opportunities he saw.

Despite all of this, the Vikings ignored their needs on the offensive line and at edge rusher and took linebacker Chazz Surratt with their second pick in the third round.

Perhaps it is just because Minnesota had a very high grade on this kid as he’s ultra-versatile and athletic. Mike Zimmer could utilize his skills in a variety of ways by lining him up all over his defense and make an opposing offense guess where he’ll be coming at them from.

Another reason is that maybe the Vikings coaching staff and front office just wanted to bolster their linebacking corps. This way, they will be a little more prepared if they are hit by injuries again next season, and they won’t have to go out and sign guys off the street.

Whatever the reason was, seeing Minnesota address a secondary need so early like linebacker was a bit of a shock.