The Minnesota Vikings had one of the better draft classes in the league this year, but they did make three mistakes.
When it comes to which teams had the better 2021 NFL Draft classes, look no further than the Minnesota Vikings. They orchestrated a tremendous trade down with the New York Jets in the first-round to accumulate more picks and used them to select their offensive linemen (Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw, Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis) and quarterback (Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond) of the future. But was it a flawless draft?
Let me preface by saying that I loved Minnesota’s draft class, but there are some things that you can nitpick over in hindsight. Here are three mistakes that the Vikings made in the 2021 NFL Draft.
3. Waiting until the fifth round to draft a wide receiver
Last year, the Vikings traded a disgruntled Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a premium draft package. With one of those picks, the Vikings selected LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who immediately became one of the league’s best wide receivers. There was even an argument that he should have won the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award over Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
Entering the NFL Draft, the top of Minnesota’s wideout depth chart consisted of Jefferson and veteran Adam Thielen. However, they could have used an immediate No. 3 option in the passing attack. Instead, the Vikings waited until the fifth round of the event to select Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette. This is meant as no knock on Smith-Marsette.
Through his four years playing for the Hawkeyes, Smith-Marsette recorded 110 receptions for 1,615 yards and 14 touchdowns. Yet, Smith-Marsette did make an impact in the return game, as he took 53 kicks for 1,520 yards and two touchdowns.
While Smith-Marsette does have upside, he will likely start off his career primarily contributing on special teams. The Vikings are obviously confident in the pick and their wideout depth chart, so we will have to find out to see if they were correct once we are in the midst of the season.