The Minnesota Vikings will go into next week’s NFL Draft in an enviable position. Of course they have needs to fill, but who doesn’t. The Vikings have had a phenomenal offseason that has seen them acquire a potential franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins. They also return all but one starter from the league’s top-ranked defense. The window to win a Super Bowl is right now, and the Vikings will approach this draft with that in mind. Let’s take a look at the Vikings biggest needs.
Offensive Line- The offensive line will be priority number one, and there are a number of different ways to go about filling the need. Right guard Joe Berger has retired and backup swingman Jeremiah Sirles has departed for Carolina. This makes guard the obvious position of need, but the Vikings could simply move Mike Remmers to guard and draft a tackle. However, guard seems to be an extremely deep position in this year’s draft. The surplus may force the Vikings hand unless they are willing to trade up for a tackle. Expect the Vikings first round pick to be spent on an offensive lineman that can step in and play immediately.
Cornerback- At first glance, this may seem like a head-scratcher, but things really aren’t as deep as they seem. Terence Newman has yet to say if he is playing next season, and Mackensie Alexander has been extremely inconsistent when called upon. Yes, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are each very good, but beyond those two things are extremely thin. Cornerback may be the most important position in today’s NFL. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings spend a fairly a high pick on one.
Outside Linebacker- This is all about looking into the future. The Vikings signed Eric Kendricks to a long-term deal earlier this week, so the writing may be on the wall for Anthony Barr. It was widely thought that either Barr or Kendricks would be a casualty of the Cousins signing. Ben Gedeon is an in-house option, but he struggled on passing downs last season. Expect the Vikings to draft an outside linebacker that has the potential to play on all three downs.
Defensive End- Again you may not see this as a need, but don’t be fooled. Brian Robison is likely entering his last season in the league, and Danielle Hunter is set to be a free agent following 2018. Also, Everson Griffen is on the wrong side of 30. This is also a premium position. Expect the Vikings to add a defensive end late in the draft.
Quarterback- There’s a case to be made for drafting a quarterback in the mid/late rounds every year. It is by far the most important position in the league, and quarterbacks depreciate at a much slower rate than other positions. If there’s a guy with upside that falls it’s definitely worth a flyer. Cousins is only three years from free agency, and Trevor Siemian has virtually no upside. Don’t expect the Vikings to do this, but it’s certainly something to watch for.