Ranking all 10 Vikings draft classes during the Rick Spielman era

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Christian Darrisaw /

No. 7

2021 Draft Class

Alright, you can take a deep breath now. We have made it through the truly ugly draft classes. The 2021 class ranking seventh is not a shot at the class, rather it would be silly to rank a class with so much unknown any higher than this.

The crown jewel of this class will be Christian Darrisaw. If he pans out, the Vikings will have locked up their two offensive tackles with Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill.

The initial returns look promising, as Darrisaw put forth a 71.9 PFF grade, ranking much higher than Rashod Hill, who he replaced. Darrisaw’s grade trailed only Justin Jefferson, Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, and O’Neill on the offense.

Lacking a second-round pick due to the Yannick Ngakoue trade disaster, the Vikings’ next pick was in the third round, where they owned four picks due to Spielman trading down in the first round and still securing Darrisaw.

The conglomerate of Kellen Mond, Chazz Surratt, Wyatt Davis, and Patrick Jones II combined to do absolutely nothing as rookies. There is no need to write them off yet, as oftentimes, it takes a few years for players to gain their footing and make an impact, especially along the offensive line.

Having four Day 2 picks and getting nothing out of them in year one is a big reason why this class ranks where it does.

On a brighter note, the trio of Day 3 picks in Kene Nwangwu, Cam Bynum, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette showed some eye-popping potential. Nwangwu’s two kick returns for TDs led the NFL and had fans clamoring for more touches for the speedster.

Bynum was thrust into a starting role for Harrison Smith when Smith was placed on the Covid-19/Reserve list before kickoff against Baltimore in Week 9. He responded with a gorgeous diving interception and an elite 90.0 PFF grade for the game and followed it up with a stellar outing in Los Angeles the following week.

Smith-Marsette stole headlines in the preseason with his contagious energy and personality, but he did not burst onto the scene until late in the year. In a meaningless Week 18 game at home, Smith-Marsette posted three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, giving some hope for his potential for the future.

While some positive contributions from their third-round picks would do wonders in pushing this class up the rankings, the Vikings would be pleased if they ended up with four solid players from a draft class.