5 biggest takeaways from the Vikings during the 2021 NFL season

Justin Jefferson - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Jefferson - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /

The Vikings lack youth to build around

Every year, the Minnesota Vikings seem to have a solid draft that fills a lot of needs and has quite a few players who can help the team climb to the next level. Several of those picks haven’t lived up to the hype while circumstances beyond the team’s control forced others to leave the franchise.

For the past few seasons, Minnesota has relied on bringing in veteran players in free agency to fill needs on the team and that strategy has drained the salary cap. Now, many of the team’s players will either be leaving in free agency or seeking a contract extension that the Vikings can’t afford.

Of course, the team isn’t completely lacking young talent. Minnesota could build around their dynamic wide receiver Justin Jefferson (22), right tackle Brian O’Neill (26), and Dalvin Cook (26) on offense.

The defense is another story. The Vikings can hope players like D.J. Wonnum (24), Camryn Bynum (23), or Cameron Dantzler (23) can develop into cornerstones. Otherwise, the team must rely on older, more expensive veterans like Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, Michael Pierce, and Dalvin Tomlinson.

It may be time to start drafting with a focus on getting younger on both sides of the ball and finding top-tier talent to lower the overall cost of the roster. That means having a higher rate of success in the draft with an emphasis on hitting on the earlier picks.