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Q&A: Vikings coach Zimmer on the 2021 draft

Q: How did you feel at the possibility of Christian Darrisaw still being available at No. 23?

A: I told him (Rick Spielman) don’t answer the phones anymore. I mean, we had several guys there that we liked. Obviously, Darrisaw was a guy that we did a lot of homework on. Rick, the scouts, the coaches all did a really nice job of evaluating him and also the other guys we had up there. Once it got to maybe 21 and we knew we had three guys there that we liked, we knew we were in good shape.

Q: Does it give you a little bit more confidence knowing you’re going to put him at left tackle?

A: Yeah, he’ll be at left tackle, but he has to come in and compete and win the job just like everybody else. We’ll be able to keep [Brian] O’Neill at right and go from there.

Q: Was it important to get another instant starter on the offensive line out of this draft?

A: I hate to say instant starter. These guys have to come in here and prove themselves just like everybody else does. Hopefully that’s what he is. It was important for us to get some more size, like I said before, with our offensive line. We felt like we needed some bigger guys in there as well. There were defensive guys we were looking at, too. It was kind of the way it fell. I know Rick mentioned that we talked about him at 14 and he end up sticking around until 23, so some other guys went off the board that we kind of liked as well.

Q: With his experience zone blocking and being a pass protector, is this the ideal fit for the offense?

A: Yeah. There’s some more guys still there that we’re looking at that we like as we move forward here. He’s got really good strength. He’s a good kid. He’s a hard worker, really athletic, get out in space, do the things that we like to do. I think the addition of just not run blocking but being able to pass protect is big as well.

Q: How much of a priority was it to take an offensive lineman?

A: I don’t know that there was a priority. It was find a guy who we thought would come in and fit the best. There was obviously some defensive players there that we liked, receivers and other positions. That’s just the way it came out.

Q: Was there anything that came up that made you value size more this off season?

A: Yeah, a little bit. We feel like we’re athletic, but you end up going against some really big defensive linemen. Especially inside, you get so many of those big guys. Darrisaw’s got real long arms, so that helps him in pass protection against some of these speed rushers. Yeah, that was one of the things we talked about.

Q: What kind of value do you see in the third and fourth rounds?

A: We don’t have a two, so it may give us an opportunity to move back into the second round and do some things that way. Rick loves to trade. He just likes to keep you guys around all night.

Q: Is there a big difference between the second and third rounds this year because of opt outs and everything this past year?

A: I do think that a lot of the players that were going to get into the draft this year, a lot of them decided to stay. I don’t know what Rick told me—there was like 500 less players in the draft this year than previous years. The pool of players is a lot smaller.

Published in Quote Me Vikings

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