Vikings Announce Jersey Numbers For 2021 Rookie Draft Class

Let's take a look at the history and aesthetics of these numbers for the Minnesota Vikings' 11 drafted rookies.
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We already knew a few of them, but now we've got all of them. The Vikings officially announced the jersey numbers for their entire 11-member 2021 draft class on Tuesday.

Let's go through each one, note some previous Vikings who have held that number, and make a snap reaction based on history and aesthetics.

LT Christian Darrisaw — 71

Notable former Vikings: David Dixon, Phil Loadholt, Riley Reiff, Doug Davis

Darrisaw is replacing Reiff as the Vikings' left tackle, so it works out for him to take Reiff's old number. Darrisaw wore 77 at Virginia Tech, but that number is retired in Minnesota for the late Korey Stringer, so 71 is the next-best thing. This is a strong choice.

QB Kellen Mond — 11

Notable former Vikings: Daunte Culpepper, Wade Wilson, Joe Kapp, Laquon Treadwell (I didn't say notable had to mean good)

Mond is the only drafted rookie who is keeping his college number. That's pretty cool. There are big shoes to fill for a QB wearing the purple 11; Culpepper is one of the best in franchise history. If Mond can come close to having that kind of an impact, he'd be a huge success as a third-rounder.

LB Chazz Surratt — 41

Notable former Vikings: Anthony Harris, Dave Osborn

Surratt felt like a questionable pick to me at 78th overall, and I'm even more skeptical after seeing this. The Daily Norseman's Eric Thompson said it best: "linebackers in the 40s always feel like camp bodies." Harris became one of the NFL's best safeties wearing this number, but it feels too low for a 'backer. We'll see if the UNC product proves me wrong. It's also worth noting that some of these numbers could theoretically change if different ones open up after post-training camp cuts.

OG Wyatt Davis — 51

Notable former Vikings: Ben Leber, Jim Hough, Carlos Jenkins, Lance Johnstone

Davis wore 52 in college, but that was taken by recent trade acquisition Mason Cole, so he just went down one number. Low 50s feels a little strange for offensive linemen, who I typically think of as being in the 60s and 70s. I think Davis is good enough to be a solid starter as a rookie and make this number look cool.

DE Patrick Jones II — 93

Notable former Vikings: John Randle, Kevin Williams, Shamar Stephen, Sheldon Richardson

There's some serious, serious Vikings history with this number, all of it at the defensive tackle position. 93 should arguably be retired for Randle, a Hall of Famer and one of the most electrifying defensive players in franchise history. Williams — a borderline HOFer who probably won't get in — was pretty dang good too. Those two are 11th and 12th all-time in career Vikings AV. Jones has a lot to live up to, and 93 will look a little strange on the edge, but this edit is pretty clean.

RB Kene Nwangwu — 26

Notable former Vikings: Robert Smith, Antoine Winfield Sr., Trae Waynes, Audray McMillan

The Vikings' 26 has been known for a pair of cornerbacks for the past couple decades, but it goes back to a tailback with the speedy Nwangwu. Smith is probably the third-best RB in franchise history (behind Adrian Peterson and Chuck Foreman) and was a big part of the incredible offenses of the late 90s. I like this fit for Nwangwu, who could have a big role as a returner as a rookie.

S Camryn Bynum — 43

Notable former Vikings: Nate Wright, Orlando Thomas (first two seasons)

Bynum wore 24 in college as a cornerback, but he's moving to safety in the NFL, so he gets a typical rookie safety number (2020 rookies Josh Metellus and Myles Dorn are 44 and 46, respectively). Hurting Bynum is that after Nwangwu took 26, the only number in the 20s still available was 28, which the Vikings haven't given to anyone since Peterson departed in 2017.

DE Janarius Robinson — 95

Notable former Vikings: Kenechi Udeze, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Fernando Smith

95 is an EXCELLENT defensive end number, even if it hasn't seen a ton of success in Minnesota. If Robinson can turn into an Odenigbo-type player, that would be considered a win for a fourth-round pick. His physical tools give him a higher ceiling than that, though.

WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette — 15

Notable former Vikings: Greg Jennings, Gary Cuozzo

Smith-Marsette, a fifth-round receiver who a lot of Vikings fans are excited about, made a little adjustment to stay true to his college number of 6. 

There isn't a ton of franchise history with this number, as it's recently been worn by camp body receivers like Isaac Fruechte, Brandon Zylstra, and Alexander Hollins. Jennings had a couple solid years in Minnesota. I'm not entirely sure why Smith-Marsette didn't just take 6, as it is unoccupied and not retired. Maybe Eric Kendricks (who wore 6 at UCLA) is planning a switch that we don't know about? 

TE Zach Davidson — 40

Notable former Vikings: Jim Kleinsasser, Charlie West

40 has recently been worn by mediocre linebackers like Todd Davis and Kentrell Brothers, so I'm happy to see it go back to the offensive side of the ball. Kleinsasser is a legend who was one of my favorite players in the league growing up. Davidson (6'7", 245, very fast) won't remind anyone of the Flying Saucer (6'3", 270, a tank) at all, and he has a lot of work to do to live up to that legacy.

DT Jaylen Twyman — 76

Notable former Vikings: Steve Hutchinson, Tim Irwin, Paul Dickson, Chris Liwienski

Late-round defensive linemen often get screwed by the lack of available numbers, and Twyman is no different. Not a single number between 90 and 99 was available after Jones and Robinson claimed the last two, so Twyman gets 76, a number typically held by offensive linemen. If he makes the team and someone like Jalyn Holmes (90) or James Lynch (92) doesn't, I'd imagine he'll switch.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, you have to watch the emotional video of Twyman receiving his draft call.

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