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Team needs: Minnesota Vikings

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The team-by-team look at draft needs continues with consideration of a franchise that matched its all-time 16-game low-water mark in 2011, with three wins and 13 losses.

Left tackle:  The Vikings put up with a lot from Bryant McKinnie, because really good left tackles don’t fall out of the sky.  (Except when cut by the Vikings after they can no longer put up with him.)  With the team hoping 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder can become a competent quarterback, the chances of Ponder maximizing his potential will be maximized if he isn’t running for his life.  USC tackle Matt Kalil would give the Vikings a blind-side Ponder protector, who could man the position for a decade or longer.  With the Vikings needing to win now, his ability to start right away is a significant bonus.

And while the Vikings would surely love to trade down and get more help, they need more help now — not in future drafts.  Also, they need to not move down so far that they won’t get Kalil.

Cornerback:  The Vikings need significant help when it comes to the men primarily assigned to covering receivers.  Especially with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Jay Cutler in the division.  Antoine Winfield turns 35 in June, Cedric Griffin is gone, Chris Cook is on double-secret probation, Asher Allen has been underwhelming, recent arrival Chris Carr is rickety, and speedy newcomer Nicholas Taylor didn’t play college football.  If they hadn’t cut McKinnie, the Vikings surely would be targeting a game-ready cornerback with their first-round pick.  They may be planning to take the best guy left when they pick in round two; in fact, with coach Leslie Frazier and G.M. Rick Spielman on an apparent win-now mandate, don’t be surprised if next year’s first-round pick is dangled in order to move back into round one in 2012 and grab a possible difference maker.

Receiver:  Percy Harvin has special skills when used the right way.  But he’s not going to streak down the sideline or run fade routes or do the things that other receivers can do.  And that’s what the Vikings need, even as they appear intent on becoming the latest team to extensively use two tight ends at the same time, either or both of whom can run routes.

The problem is that it’s hard to find receivers who can make a dramatic impact in their first seasons.  The goal should be to take a flier on a mid-round guy who may have the ability to stretch the field and open up the underneath routes for Harvin and the tight ends, and perhaps to draw the strong safety out of the box if/when Adrian Peterson is bowling defenders over again.

Defensive tackle:  With Remi Ayodele gone and several mid-level members of the rotation back and Kevin Williams getting no younger (then again, who is?), the Vikings need a young, talented, and very large man to take advantage of the attention that will go to defensive end Jared Allen during the remaining years of his prime.  Weaknesses in the secondary often become less glaring when the defensive line is stopping the run and wreaking havoc.  The Vikings need to get back to that, or it will be a long decade in the shadows of the Packers, Lions, and Bears.

Safety:  The franchise that once had Paul Krause and Joey Browner and Robert Griffith and Darren Sharper now has, well, no one.  With so many balls in the air, the Vikings need someone with the nose to go get it.  Badly.

The Vikings have plenty of needs and, ideally, they’ll find a way to parlay the third overall pick into more chances to immediately infuse talent onto the team.  Even if they do, it will be difficult to compete in a division that, not long ago, they ruled.

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60 Responses to “Team needs: Minnesota Vikings”
  1. jeremyhurst says: Apr 11, 2012 8:16 AM

    You skipped the Browns. Way to go.

  2. Peter Venkman says: Apr 11, 2012 8:17 AM

    You forgot their need for a greater Los Angeles area realtor.

  3. marat28051988 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:18 AM

    nobody will help these whiners and losers

  4. sj39 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:24 AM

    Stadium?

  5. purpleman527 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:31 AM

    I believe Joey Browner was a linebacker. No doubt that Browner was a game changer though.
    The Vikes absolutely need someone in the defensive backfield who can be a game changer.

  6. brennankm46 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:34 AM

    NEEDS NOT MENTIONED:

    GM, Owner, Stadium, houseboat with capacity of 50-60.

  7. crabboil says: Apr 11, 2012 8:34 AM

    They need an endless supply of tissues and a couple more things to blame for their epic failures.

  8. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears says: Apr 11, 2012 8:41 AM

    He is doing it by draft order. The Vikings draft #3; the browns draft #4.

  9. clintonportisheadd says: Apr 11, 2012 8:42 AM

    After reading that article I can’t see how they win more than 5 games this year.

  10. dtrb10 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:44 AM

    @Peter Venkman! Get a life duchebag!

  11. NationalFlagFootballLeague says: Apr 11, 2012 8:45 AM

    Vikings ruled??? for what..one year? Maybe when they move to L.A. they can rid themselves of the ‘woe is me’ attitude.

  12. barstoolio says: Apr 11, 2012 8:45 AM

    No he just hit like one.

  13. capitala23 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:45 AM

    @jeremyhurst Browns have 4th pick, so they would be next. But it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing if he actually does skip the Browns. :-P

  14. taintedsaints2009 says: Apr 11, 2012 8:50 AM

    you’re right about the vikings literally not having a safety, but Darren Sharper was horrible. absolutely horrible. don’t put him next to Krause ever again. Sharper was just plain awful. i have never seen a safety so out of position before, whether it was to make a play on a pass, or make a tackle.

  15. vikingsfanintexas says: Apr 11, 2012 8:52 AM

    Hey Purpleman527, Browner was a safety.

    He even played CB from time to time in his first couple of years. And when he was the cover guy on punt returns you knew he was going to make a huge hit.

    What you’re probably remembering is that he played in the box a lot on obvious running plays and made a ton of tackles. That and he was big for a safety. But he was a safety for sure and even made a couple of pro bowls.

    My most vivid memory is his horse collar tackle of a Denver RB who was about to score. It twisted his down so bad his ankle snapped and his foot twisted almost backward. It was as horrible as what happened to Thiesman.

    In today’s league Joey would have been flagged and fined and suspended because he had big strong hands and was always grabbing someone by a horse collar and throwing them to the ground.

    But yes, the Vikings could use someone like him to roam around in the secondary and pick off a few passes and make a big play or two. It’s been a long time since he was around.

  16. igotadigbick says: Apr 11, 2012 8:52 AM

    Are you sure you’re not a Ravens fan purpleman?

  17. kevinwi says: Apr 11, 2012 9:01 AM

    Vikings need a LT, WR, CB, S, MLB to be able to become competitive again.
    With 7 picks in the first 138 picks of the draft, they should be able to make a huge dent in that… ….this is a deep WR and CB class, so no matter what, with taking Kalil with the 3rd overall, there will be plenty of talented WR and CB’s left to take in rounds 3 and 4….and other than Barron, the rest of the safety class is average at best and suited for later rounds (yes, regardless what you read, Harrison Smith is average at best and not worthy of a 2nd round grade).
    As this free agency period proved, it’s not a LB needy league, so decent LB’s should be found in later rounds. With 10 picks overall, Vikings should get good value….also don’t discount that they trade a couple lower round picks to move up into the 2nd to go get the guy they want.
    Tannahill’s draft rise has hit it’s plateau, now it’s fairly clear he’s not worthy of trading up to #3. Vikes will stick there and take their LT.

  18. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Apr 11, 2012 9:05 AM

    Vikings team needs:

    1 QB
    1RB
    2 WR
    1 TE
    2 OT
    2 OG
    1 C
    2 DE
    2DT
    3 LB
    4 DB
    1 offensive coordinator
    1 defensive coordinator
    1 head coach
    1 general manager
    1 stadium

  19. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Apr 11, 2012 9:08 AM

    clintonportisheadd says:Apr 11, 2012 8:42 AM

    After reading that article I can’t see how they win more than 5 games this year.
    ————

    5 wins? Where are you getting the 3rd, 4th and 5th win from? I predict they set a new record for worst regular season record ever. Two wins this year is not outside the realm of possibility.

  20. londonlion81 says: Apr 11, 2012 9:10 AM

    To all the people saying ‘Stadium’ ‘GM’, it’s pretty hard to draft a stadium. Read the first sentence.

  21. fwippel says: Apr 11, 2012 9:14 AM

    While I’d love to see the Vikings take Kalil, it would also be difficult to pass on a prospective trade, if someone wants the #3 pick. If the Vikings could do that and stay in the top ten, pick up an extra second round pick, I’d be tempted to take it.

    While the CB spot is definitely one of need, the safety position is in much worse shape. There is an outside possibility that Winfield and Cook stay healthy and out of trouble; these two have some talent. But the safety position is completely devoid of talent. None of these guys are ever near the ball when it is thrown, and they don’t help their CBs at all.

    Yes, the Vikings need another reciever, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them land a guy like Alshon Jeffrey in round 2, assuming he lasts that long.

    If Spielman was so concerned about winning NOW, he would have at least addressed some of these needs in free agency. But instead of that, he sat around and watched the difference makers get plucked by other teams while he touted the virtures of not over-spending.

    Well, Antoine Winfield and Pat Williams were big name FA signings for this team that worked out pretty well. If you don’t take a chance on a quality player, he can’t help your team get better. Signing a bunch of backup-caliber talent, and hoping some of them emerge as star players is not how you build a winning football team.

    I guess the last need you should have listed was a new G.M., one who has actually built a winner at some point in his career.

  22. 11wheatd says: Apr 11, 2012 9:27 AM

    The Vikings are in rebuilding mode, why would they need to win NOW? Doesn’t make sense, usually rebuilding takes 3-5 years

  23. superjroch says: Apr 11, 2012 9:33 AM

    Joey Browner was a safety, purpleman. I’m a Packer fan and I know that.

  24. jeremyhurst says: Apr 11, 2012 9:35 AM

    For some stupid reason I thoguht the Browns were 4 and the Vikes were 5, even though I religously follow everything about the NFL, and I knew for a fact that the Browns were 4 and the Vikes were 3.

    Brain fart, my bad!

    Perhaps a premonition? Even though I REALLY hope the Browns don’t trade up for any reason.

  25. truthserum4u says: Apr 11, 2012 9:40 AM

    Ah, I see the trolls are out early this morning. No doubt the same ones who will cry when people are trolling on their team’s stories.

    On to this article –

    What’s with all of the “win now” comments? If this were the case why is all the noise from Minnesota about rebuilding through the draft? Wouldn’t they have been much more active in the free agent market if they were in a “win-now mandate”? You seem to be the only one in the football universe who has this idea; where does it come from?

  26. wipackman1265 says: Apr 11, 2012 9:40 AM

    Heres the BAD news LA Queen fans ….

    You drafted the wrong QB to learn from McBAD

    Enjoy your next 10 years of BAD

    BTW If the LA Queens trade out and don’t take Kalil it may get too sad to watch.

  27. lionsfan415 says: Apr 11, 2012 9:44 AM

    To bad they can’t re draft last years draft considering Joe Webb is better than ponder will ever be

  28. jimnsota says: Apr 11, 2012 9:44 AM

    Trading picks to get back into the 1st round would be a bad move. The Vikes will be right back in this position next year with a shot at Barkley. Not that it cant happen but Ponder has a long way to go to become a winning qb at the NFL level.
    Take Kalil move on to the 2nd round and take the best available player. Plenty of potential starters will be available to fill the many holes.
    Suck for Barkley!!!

  29. norseyapper says: Apr 11, 2012 9:50 AM

    The article’s premise, “With the Vikings needing to win now…” and therefore would be willing to trade next year’s probable top ten 1st round pick to move up 10 or 12 spots in the draft is ridiculous.

    The Vikings are rebuilding, true fans understand that this happens now and again to virtually every franchise. They need to have an excellent draft top to bottom in 2012. That said:

    Kalil rd. 1, the highest ranked on their board WR or CB rd 2, throw safety into the mix rd. 3, best player available with an eye open for a guard or linebacker they feel has special value after the 3rd rd.

  30. oldlineman says: Apr 11, 2012 9:57 AM

    Still don’t like how they cut Bryant McKinnie. Can understand the reason for moving him out, but he must have had some value for a trade at the time. If not for Raven’s bad luck in Patriots game, he would have started and probably done a good job in the Super Bowl for Baltimore…

  31. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 10:02 AM

    Super Bowl, homeboy.

  32. jamesnieman says: Apr 11, 2012 10:07 AM

    i personally think its a good ideal to trade next years 1st to get into the 1st this year only if its a 1st for 1st swap and dont have to throw thier 2nd in. they could draft LT Kalil at 3 then get either a WR like Floyd if hes available or best CB available with the 1st they traded for and then use the 2nd round pick on a guy like S Smith or WR Jefferies. as far as everyone saying they will be a top 10 pick next year i would say not so much. They lost 9 games by 7 points or less and 1 game by 10 points. Ponder will be better this year after having a yr under his belt and the fact that he will have ota’s and training camp. on top of that if they can plug a few holes with them 2 1st rd picks and the 2nd with starters they would be alright. not saying they would win division but i could see a 9-7 season.

  33. tentoes2 says: Apr 11, 2012 10:08 AM

    double-secret probation never works!

  34. fwippel says: Apr 11, 2012 10:22 AM

    lionsfan415 says:

    To bad they can’t re draft last years draft considering Joe Webb is better than ponder will ever be.
    *****************************************
    As a Viking fan, I watched both QBs down the stretch last year. As uncomfortable as it is to say this, Webb outplayed Ponder the last few weeks of the season.

    Webb relieved an ineffective Ponder at Detroit, and was one missed facemask call from engineering a comeback win (from 20 pts down). He relieved Ponder in Washington when CP got hurt, and led the Vikings to a come from behind win. He didn’t play as well in the finale against the Bears, but still outplayed Ponder, who threw a pick six before getting hurt again.

    If Ponder sputters this year, Webb may take the starting job from him, and never look back.

  35. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 11:15 AM

    with coach Leslie Frazier and G.M. Rick Spielman on an apparent win-now mandate
    _______

    What? Where did this come from? Wouldn’t they be out signing big-name free agents if they were in win-now mode?

  36. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Apr 11, 2012 11:22 AM

    fwippel says:Apr 11, 2012 10:22 AM

    He relieved Ponder in Washington when CP got hurt, and led the Vikings to a come from behind win.

    ———

    If not for this, your vikes are drafting 2nd this year and have a shot at an actual franchise QB. Too funny, seriously, it’s like they’re cursed.

  37. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 11:22 AM

    Tell me, jamesnieman…What color is the sky in your world?

  38. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 11:37 AM

    @Carl – It’s “like” they’re cursed? In what way are they not cursed? It takes a real man to be a fan of this team.

  39. packerswambulance says: Apr 11, 2012 11:43 AM

    Best case scenario? Drop a couple spots, pick up an extra second rounder, draft Kalil or Blackmon, then Alshon Jeffires and Janoris Jenkins.

  40. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Apr 11, 2012 11:55 AM

    thankheavenfornumberseven says:Apr 11, 2012 11:37 AM

    @Carl – It’s “like” they’re cursed? In what way are they not cursed? It takes a real man to be a fan of this team.
    —-

    I think you left out a word there… “…takes a real “dumb” man….

  41. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Apr 11, 2012 11:57 AM

    thankheavenfornumberseven says:Apr 11, 2012 11:22 AM

    Tell me, jamesnieman…What color is the sky in your world
    —-

    Why are you ripping one of your own? I’m pretty sure the Packers would give up the 28th overall pick this year for the #1 overall pick next year…

  42. 86chawk says: Apr 11, 2012 12:17 PM

    Not a Vikings fan but i read all of the articles on here and i have to say that Packers fans are the biggest douche-bags out there. Why even go to some teams headline and talk smack? What are you guys 9 or something? Those idiots are on every teams board running their mouths about nothing.

  43. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 12:35 PM

    @86chawk -

    I’d give you 1,000 thumbs up if I could.

    @Carl -

    I think he’s talking about you.

  44. theytukrjobs says: Apr 11, 2012 12:52 PM

    In the NFL, you are never as guaranteed to do great or terrible as everyone thinks. That is the age of the salary cap.

    Let’s say the Vikes draft Kahlil and move Johnson to Guard. That gives them, on paper, a stout line. If Ponder, Rudolph, and Burton make big year two strides, while Carlson fits in hopefully as well, they could have a stout possession pass/power run style offense that can play keep away from their pass happy division.

    On defense if Cook and Winfield are available that is a huge upgrade at corner over last season. Robison/Allen could have another highly productive pass rush. Linebacker and Safety play is likely to get slightly better, but not much unless someone comes out of nowhere or the new D coordinator puts in better schemes.

    Sure I wouldn’t go picking them to win the division just yet but if they have a big draft, get increased productivity out of young players, and avoid the injury bug it isn’t out of the question for them to have some success.

  45. purpwalk says: Apr 11, 2012 1:16 PM

    86chawk says: Apr 11, 2012 12:17 PM

    Not a Vikings fan but i read all of the articles on here and i have to say that Packers fans are the biggest douche-bags out there. Why even go to some teams headline and talk smack? What are you guys 9 or something? Those idiots are on every teams board running their mouths about nothing.

    ______________________________________

    you ever been there? hillbillies of the north. wisco is just a place ya drive through to go from chicago to minneapolis

  46. jamesnieman says: Apr 11, 2012 1:56 PM

    thankheavenfornumber7: whats so hard to believe about my statment? are you saying that they didnt loose 9 games by 7 points or less, because they did, are you saying that they wouldnt get 3 instant starters with 2 #1′s and a #2 because they would with how deep the 1st 2 rounds are this year, are you saying Ponder wont get the chance at OTA’s and Training Camp because he will, or is it because i said they could be 9-7? Every year there is at least 1 team that goes from the bottom to the top unexpected. Not saying it will happen for the Vikings but it could and like i said earlier with 9 games by 7 Points or less make me feel like its more likely than not.

  47. mediasloppy says: Apr 11, 2012 2:05 PM

    Not so long ago when the Vikings were sweeping the North I remember Cheeseheads talking about how Aaron Rodgers was a total flop and Mike McCarthy was worthless… Funny how things change.

    Every team goes through its ups and downs. As for people complaining about a win now strategy, get with it. You think an organization is going to lay on it’s back and tell their fans to stay home. I mean if you’re not in a win now mentality you might as well just have black outs.

    And quit ripping on your own team. There are enough haters out there ready and willing to do it anyway.

  48. sportmentary says: Apr 11, 2012 2:38 PM

    Where to we start with the Queens? First they need to strengthen their Oline. That’s their first priority. I think their next move should be to strengthen their secondary and then they need to strengthen their receiving corps. There’s a lot of work to be done by Queens.

    Look for the next 3 to 4 season to be horrible. They will be lucky to win 20 games total in the next 3 years.

  49. khmer379 says: Apr 11, 2012 3:22 PM

    Am not worried about my Viking well be fine call me delusional but it wouldnt surprise me if we clinch a wildcard it not like our team is full of rookies n nobody we still have some talent as long we shore up on defense I dont see why we cant compete

  50. contra74 says: Apr 11, 2012 4:09 PM

    sportmentary says:Apr 11, 2012 2:38 PM

    Where to we start with the Queens?
    ——-
    Honestly, I stopped reading at this sentence. No one gives 2 flying farts what you think. Thanks for believing otherwise though.

  51. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Apr 11, 2012 4:33 PM

    jamesnieman says:Apr 11, 2012 1:56 PM

    thankheavenfornumber7: whats so hard to believe about my statment? are you saying that they didnt loose 9 games by 7 points or less, because they did, are you saying that they wouldnt get 3 instant starters with 2 #1′s and a #2 because they would with how deep the 1st 2 rounds are this year, are you saying Ponder wont get the chance at OTA’s and Training Camp because he will, or is it because i said they could be 9-7? Every year there is at least 1 team that goes from the bottom to the top unexpected. Not saying it will happen for the Vikings but it could and like i said earlier with 9 games by 7 Points or less make me feel like its more likely than not.
    ________

    I’m not saying it would be impossible for them to make a jump but it’s much more likely that they’ll have a top-10 pick again next year. Do you want to trade a top-10 pick next year for a pick in the 20′s this year? I don’t have a lot of faith in rookies. Last year they took Rudolph in the second round and he was expected to go in the last half of the first round. He’ll be good someday but he hardly played last year. I don’t think adding three rookies is going to give them six more wins. Top 10 picks should contribute right away but later picks usually take some time to make an impact.

    By the way, has anyone ever looked at how many games each team lost by 7 points or less? I hear that all the time but I don’t know of any research suggesting that teams that lose a lot of close games start winning those games the next year.

  52. prplpuzzetrz says: Apr 11, 2012 8:27 PM

    Vikings will not give up their top pick next year! My Vikings are rebuilding and I would be shocked if we aren’t the #1 pick in next years draft, our leadership is so incompetent, we actually came back to win a game that moved us back to the 3rd pick this year. That threw our rebuilding project back 2 years! I give them this year to convince me they are not inept! Skol

  53. duece5 says: Apr 12, 2012 12:09 AM

    Carl Gerbschmidt says:Apr 11, 2012 9:08 AM

    clintonportisheadd says:Apr 11, 2012 8:42 AM

    After reading that article I can’t see how they win more than 5 games this year.
    ————

    5 wins? Where are you getting the 3rd, 4th and 5th win from? I predict they set a new record for worst regular season record ever. Two wins this year is not outside the realm of possibility.

    duece5 says:

    Thank-you for the “prediction” Carl—usually you can book on the opposite, which mean the Vikes are headed to 13-3 AND your pukes CHOKE AGAIN!

  54. vikings101 says: Apr 12, 2012 1:57 AM

    What’s a packer anyway! Sounds fruity!! Skol Vikings

  55. vikefan says: Apr 12, 2012 9:28 AM

    pack fans r still really from their one & done playoff appearance last year when the entire media world was telling them how good they were thru entire season….gotta be tuff losing at home to a .500 football after being showoffs entire regular season, but heh, there is nothing to do in their state in football off season so why not get on web and constantly berate others to lift yourselfup, thats what every 2 year 5 year old does, right?

  56. purplecrowe says: Apr 12, 2012 11:26 AM

    I’m not saying that I’m all-in behind Ponder, but why all the clamoring for Webb? He throws it in the dirt more than McNabb. If he can’t improve his accuracy, he’s nothing more than a viable #2 or 3 at this level…at best.

  57. rybros77 says: Apr 14, 2012 7:20 PM

    Hey Vikes fan in Texas. Totally remember the Browner play against Denver. The running back was Gerald Wilhite. I think it was a Monday Night game. He never played again in the NFL after that injury.

  58. mikeh12345 says: Apr 15, 2012 2:59 PM

    The Vikings must get a vertical wide receiver NOW to stretch the field so defenses cannot flood into the underneath routes and choke off the running and short passing.

    Mike Florio recommends that the Vikings take a flier on a mid round WR. The chance that plan pans out is remote if ever.

    The Vikings need to get Justin Blackmon to assure themselves of a vertical WR. He has been called a man among boys. Moreover, Michael Floyd and Reuben Randle are also possibilities that are moving up the draft boards.

    Florio’s claim that wide receivers can’t have an impact in the first year doesn’t apply to the six that have been drafted in the top six picks each year since 2003 – Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Braylon Edwards, Calvin Johnson, AJ Green and Julio Jones.

    Everybody knew the Vikings were reaching to take Troy Williamson with the seventh pick in 2005. Now the Vikings have their pick of a sure thing.

  59. pack13queens0 says: Apr 15, 2012 3:51 PM

    Biggest Team Need: A new home in Los Angeles.

  60. dinodimes says: Apr 23, 2012 11:56 PM

    alan page was a great punter ;)

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