Vikings Crack PFF’s Top 10 Draft Classes of 2021
On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus outlined the best draft classes from the 2021 NFL Draft in a piece authored by Michael Renner.
The Minnesota Vikings slipped inside the Top 10, thanks to two crucial draft choices — left tackle Christian Darrisaw and offensive guard Wyatt Davis.
Here’s the complete Top 10:
- Cleveland Browns
- Chicago Bears
- New England Patriots
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Tennessee Titans
- New York Jets
- Detroit Lions
- Washington Football Team
- Denver Broncos
- Minnesota Vikings
While Minnesota is perceived by PFF as the league’s 10th-best overall draft class, the Vikings are evidently the third-best squad via this metric in the NFC North. The black and blue division had a wonderful weekend in Cleveland, if PFF is considered a fair adjudicator of draft efficacy.
Specifically on the Vikings draftees, Renner wrote:
“To get two great value picks at easily the Vikings’ biggest position group of need is nothing short of a home run for the franchise. Christian Darrisaw should have really been in play for the Vikings at Pick 14 when they were sitting on the clock, so to get him after a trade back was exceptional. They turned that Pick 14 into two immediate starters by using one of the third-rounders they got back to select Wyatt Davis. Davis would have been a borderline first-rounder had he declared a year ago, but a knee issue in 2020 dropped him down the board.“
To the chagrin of some, the Vikings kept their EDGE rusher drought alive in the 1st Round of the draft. The franchise has not selected a defensive end in the 1st Round since 2005, an unusually long drought for a defense-first team. Many mock drafts indicated players like Kwity Paye or Jaelan Phillips would hop onto the Vikings 2021 depth chart. Instead, those two men went to the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins respectively.
General Manager Rick Spielman chose to fortify the other side of the trenches early in the draft, acquiring through trade the aforementioned Darrisaw and Davis. For the first time in ages, the Vikings will employ an offensive line that is entirely homegrown. From Christian Darrisaw, Wyatt Davis, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, to Brian O’Neill, head coach Mike Zimmer will utilize men on the offensive line that have all been drafted by the team since the start of 2018. Therefore, this offensive line is young — and it is cheap. For now anyway.
That’s probably why PFF enjoyed Minnesota’s haul. The team’s management took the sentiment to heart that it “ignores the offensive line,” only to bolster the bunch organically via the draft in back-to-back-to-back-to-back years. The only non-biological commodities on the OL depth chart are men like Dakota Dozier or Mason Cole who will be relegated to reservists roles in the wake of Darrisaw and Davis’ conjoinment to the roster.
In addition, the Vikings scooped a potential quarterback of the future in Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond. The Aggie was chosen in a draft spot (the 3rd Round) that is just esteemed enough for Mond to start at some point but does not necessitate he is a Justin Fields-like product that should start immediately.
The quarterback job belongs to Cousins for at least a year longer, probably two.
But because of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Vikings have a succession plan, if needed, in Mond — with to exciting prospects like Darrisaw and Davis to protect the signal-caller, no matter if his name is Cousins or Mond.