NFL Insider Reveals Vikings’ Choice 1st-Round Pick Ahead of NFL Draft

Christian Darrisaw

Getty Christian Darrisaw (left) was selected No. 23 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2021 NFL Draft.

If the board pans out in their favor, the Minnesota Vikings will be selecting an offensive lineman to replace left tackle Riley Reiff in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29.

Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline reported that the Vikings would like to select Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, ranked the second-best lineman in the upcoming draft class by Pro Football Focus, “but they aren’t sure he’ll be around at pick 14 with the Los Angeles Chargers selecting ahead of them.”

The Chargers are even more desperate for help on the offensive line, ranking dead last in Pro Football Focus’ 2020 offensive line rankings. Los Angeles could smother Minnesota’s chances of getting Darrisaw.

However, the Vikings are considering another lineman at No. 14 overall.

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Vikings Willing to Take Third-Best Lineman at No. 14 Overall

The 2021 NFL Draft class’ consensus top offensive lineman in Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, a projected top-five pick, is out of the question for Minnesota without a seismic trade into the top five.

And in the event Darrisaw is not on the board at No. 14, the Vikings are likely to take the best player available and are considering the third-best lineman in the draft, USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker.

“If [Darrisaw’s] not there, I’m told the Vikings are taking a long, hard look at [Alijah] Vera-Tucker, who they could end up selecting in Round 1,” Pauline reported.

Vera-Tucker played both guard and tackle in college and could provide the athleticism and versatility the Vikings need. However, his ideal fit would be a left guard in a zone-blocking scheme.

The Vikings would need to be supremely confident in either shifting Ezra Cleveland to tackle or in giving backup Rashod Hill a shot at the starting role while Vera-Tucker took over a spot at guard.

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Vikings Could Consider Trade Up for Darrisaw

General manager Rick Spielman has a reputation for trading down in the NFL Draft and the numbers back the chatter around the Vikings general manager. Spielman has traded down 28 times compared to just nine times trading up.

But if Darrisaw is the guy who they want, Spielman may have to buck the trend and give up some draft capital to move ahead of the Chargers, who own the No. 13 overall pick.

This could be concerning given the team has no second-round pick and would likely have to push drafting a developmental backup to 2022. Spielman has also had a long track record of nailing his second-round picks, which he won’t have the opportunity with a trade up.

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