2021 NFL Draft Grade: Minnesota Vikings
Round 1 Pick 23: OT Christian Darrisaw
Round 3 Pick 66: QB Kellen Mond
Round 3 Pick 78: LB Chazz Surratt
Round 3 Pick 86: G Wyatt Davis
Round 3 Pick 90: EDGE Patrick Jones II
Round 4 Pick 119: RB Kene Nwangwu
Round 4 Pick 125: CB Camryn Bynum
Round 4 Pick 134: DE Janarius Robinson
Round 5 Pick 157: WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Round 5 Pick 168: TE Zach Davidson
Round 6 Pick 199: DT Jaylen Twyman
The Vikings went into this year’s draft with major needs along the offensive line. Longtime left tackle, Riley Reiff, left Minnesota in free agency thus leaving the team with needs at LT and guard.
Despite some fans getting sweaty brows when the Vikings chose to trade down from No. 14 rather than taking Christian Darrisaw, Rick Spielman proved why he is one of the better drafters in the league. He managed to acquire two third rounders (Nos. 66 and 86) and still got his guy at No. 23.
If you want to split hairs, taking Kellen Mond, a project QB, as highly as Minnesota did (No. 66) seems a little questionable. It’s especially so when you consider that Joseph Ossai was still on the board, and they could have held off until the fourth round for Ian Book. That said, Mond seems like the guy they wanted with his high ceiling, and the Wyatt Davis pick at No. 86 makes this trade a win.
The Vikings still managed to address the EDGE position later in the third round, anyway. Patrick Jones II was very good at Pittsburgh. Jones has a higher chance of being a bust than Ossai (in my humble opinion), but his aggressive, “all gas, no brakes” play style fits perfectly as a rotational pass rusher. With guys like Danielle Hunter, Stephen Weatherly, and DJ Wonnum on the roster, that is all the Vikings really need right now.
The most questionable pick of the first three rounds is LB Chazz Surratt at No. 78. However, these questions do not surround his skill set. Instead, like many players in this draft, people have been concerned about his lack of playing time. He is a QB-turned-LB, though, so he should not have too much issue recognizing opposing offenses’ schemes. His athleticism, explosiveness, and work ethic could turn him into a great pick especially playing behind experienced guys like Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
It’s hard to judge too many Day Three picks as anything more than flyers on guys that could break out. However, the Vikings had six picks on Day Three and all came before the seventh round. The most notable is their last pick at No. 199 where they took DT Jaylen Twyman.
Developing in the same football program that produced Aaron Donald, Twyman has the skill set where he could have gone as highly as the second round. However, because of lack of playing time and an opt out of the 2020 season, Twyman’s stock fell massively. He is a bit undersized at the DT position, but projects to be an effective 3T in an NFL defense.
Twyman is explosive and always the first off the line of the scrimmage. With Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson eating up snaps, Twyman won’t need to have a massive immediate role, anyway. He has time to develop even further.
The Vikings had a couple interesting picks in round three, but at the end of the day, this was a very successful draft on paper. They seem to have bulked up both lines, and both Kene Nwangwu and Camryn Bynum could find immediate roles on special teams. Minnesota has a better football team now than they did before, and that is the ultimate goal of the draft.