Vikings use fewest rookies through first two weeks of the season: Why have their 11 draft picks played so little?

Written By Jake Aferiat
Mike-Zimmer-09222021-Getty-FTR
(Getty Images)

For the second straight year, Minnesota is off to an 0-2 start and the Vikings have won just once in their last six games dating back to Dec. 13 of last season.

They've been on the receiving end of two straight walkoff field goals — against the Bengals in Week 1 and against the Cardinals in Week 2.

All of the usual suspects — Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, etc. — are playing well for Minnesota, though there is one area where the Vikings haven't seen much production and it's with their rookies.

MORE: Vikings check in at No. 26 in NFL Power Rankings

Last week none of the Vikings 11 2021 draft picks played offensive or defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner.

Much of the reason for the lack of rookie playing time in Minnesota has been due to injury — like 23rd overall pick left tackle Christian Darrisaw — or players just being inactive, like third round pick at quarterback Kellen Mond. Some are also either backups or beyond on the depth chart and some are on the practice squad.

All told, four of their rookies were active for Week 2, and three saw the field, but only for special teams.

MORE: Week 3 picks against the spread | Week 3 picks straight up

The Vikings have had the most draft picks in each of the last three drafts and four of the last five, but this is the first year since that trend emerged where rookies have failed to see the field at any real noticeable clip.

With an average age of 26.4 years old, they're the second-oldest team in their division, the Vikings could need some young production facing two typically tough teams in Seattle and Cleveland in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively.

There's hope that Darrisaw will come back from injury in the coming weeks and be an immediate impact player on the offensive line, while running back Kene Nwangwu and defensive end Janarius Robinson are both on injured reserve, but could potentially make an impact once they return.

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