On Thursday night, we saw a classic “Trader Rick” move from Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman. He made a trade to move out of the #14 spot in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, picked up a pair of third-round selections, and still got a player that the team conceivably would have been alright taking at #14 in the first place with Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
What do the experts around the internet think of the selection of Darrisaw? Let’s take a look at some of the grades that the pick was given.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: A+
One of the least surprising moments of the first round was the Vikings trading out of the 14th overall spot once the Chargers selected Rashawn Slater at No. 13. Acquiring two third-round picks from the Jets (and sending back a fourth-rounder) to move down nine selections was clearly the right move, and looked even better when they found the left tackle they needed in Darrisaw at 23. Scouts did not like his inconsistency finishing plays, but he has the athleticism and strength to make it at the next level. His potential as a long-time starter at left tackle makes him a perfect fit for the Vikings.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: A
I love this pick. I believe he will be the best tackle in the draft. It fills a need in a big way.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: A
The Vikings pulled off another draft coup with Rick Spielman, managing to still land the rock of a left tackle they needed for their style of offensive line after trading back nine spots. They got a big upgrade from Rashod Hill to make both Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook happy. This pick is a home run, much like Justin Jefferson around the same spot in 2020.
Rob Rang, Fox Sports: B+
The second consecutive Hokie off the board, Darrisaw is a light-footed tackle with the potential to one day challenge for Pro Bowl honors. He fills a clear area of longtime need for the Vikings, especially given the pass rushers Minnesota faces in the NFC North. Darrisaw is an intriguing talent, one with both quality tape and some clear areas in which he can improve – suggesting he has not yet reached his maximum potential. At this point in the draft, he could wind up proving a steal, just like his former teammate Farley and the Vikings’ first-round pick last year, wideout Justin Jefferson.
Ben Rolfe, Pro Football Network: A+
The selection of Christian Darrisaw is a superb value for the Minnesota Vikings. Often touted as a potential selection for them at 14, they get their guy while also trading back and picking up further assets. The Vikings had a huge need at tackle, and Darrisaw gives them a high upside player at the position.
Walter Campbell, Walter Football: B
How can you not like this value for the Vikings? I thought Christian Darrisaw would be their pick at No. 14 if Rashawn Slater happened to be off the board. He’s long and athletic, which is exactly what Minnesota looks for from its offensive linemen. However, several teams told us that there’s “something missing with Darrisaw.” Some teams think he lacks toughness, which would worry me. Still, this is a good value selection.
Luke Easterling, Draft Wire: A
The ideal scenario for any team that trades back is to add picks, and still end up with a player that would have been worth your original selection. That’s exactly what the Vikings did here, moving back nine spots and still landing a starting-caliber left tackle that would have already been a fantastic value at their original spot. He fills a huge need, can start immediately, and he’s a huge bargain this late in the first round.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports: B+
It’s back to back Hokies as the Vikings slide down and grab a player who routinely was mocked in the teens. GM Rick Spielman typically lands good value, and this fits the bill. We weren’t quite as enamored with Darrisaw’s upside as others, but he’s a very nice player with the athletic traits to be a Day 1 starter at left tackle.
James Dator, SB Nation: A
This is a solid pick made great by the fact the Vikings traded back and acquired more value. It’s completely conceivable the team would have been okay staying at No. 14 and taking Darrisaw, but they were willing to take the risk and move back. Minnesota needed trench help on both sides of the ball, and Darrisaw will play RT from day one.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: A+
This is exactly why I didn’t like the Jets’ decision to trade up earlier in the round. Even after moving back and picking up a pair of third-round picks, Minnesota gets incredible value in grabbing Darrisaw here. The Virginia Tech standout fills a big need, bringing pass-protecting chops and the athleticism to block well in the run game.
Those are pretty darn good marks for the Vikings for their first selection. Given the needs that the team had and the fact that they got two extra picks in the third round for moving back and getting the guy they wanted anyway, it’s hard to not give this selection high marks.
As things stand thus far you, the readers, agree with those assessments. With over 6,000 votes cast in our poll, 75% of you have given the selection at least an A-, with over 50% grading it as an A.
Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft will be underway in a little more than six hours, and we hope that you’re back here with us again to see what the Minnesota Vikings will be doing today.