The Minnesota Vikings have several holes to fill on their defense ahead of the start to the 2021 season. Whether or not they look to address some of those holes in free agency or through the draft is something worth monitoring leading up to the draft in late April.
There are holes on all three levels of the defense, and it wouldn’t be overly surprising to see the Vikings address either the defensive line, linebacker or the secondary on the first and second day of the draft. Mike Zimmer learned in 2020 that his defense lacked depth and that will have to be fixed if the team wants to find success in 2021.
For starters, it makes a lot of sense for the Vikings to trade back on day one of the draft in some sort of attempt at reclaiming a pick in the second round. This would allow them to move back a few spots to draft the best player available, all while giving Rick Spielman a pick in what seems to be his best round over the last several years.
LSU Linebacker Jabril Cox would be a name for Vikings fans to keep an eye on throughout day two of the draft. He currently grades as someone that would be a late second-round pick to an early third-round pick and could instantly be a starter next to Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Cox played at NDSU for three seasons before entering the transfer portal and playing his final season at LSU. He was a two-time FCS All-American before making his decision to take his talents to the SEC.
Even though the Vikings have two good linebackers, adding a third would be a huge boost to the teams’ defense. Cox is at his best in coverage, meaning the Vikings would have two solid linebackers in that aspect of the game.
Although Cox can show improvement in the run game, what he brings to the table in terms of coverage and being all over the field is exciting. Sideline to sideline is a term that many analysts use frequently when talking about great linebackers in the NFL and Cox shows that frequently on tape.
Not only would it be a huge benefit having two linebackers that play well in coverage, but this could also allow Zimmer to utilize Barr in the pass rush more frequently. This would be a win-win for all parties involved, as Barr is at his best when going after opposing quarterbacks.
Placing Cox on a defensive unit with two already proven linebackers could benefit the Vikings not only in 2021, but it could also set up the future of that position as well. Barr is a player that has been labeled by many as a potential cap casualty, but it would be ideal to keep him in Minnesota given his already proven leadership at the position.
There’s also a chance the Vikings can’t afford to bring back Eric Wilson, meaning the Vikings would have to find another starter along with some depth pieces this offseason.
Stay tuned for more 2021 NFL Draft player profiles in the upcoming months on KFAN.com.