Draft needs: Minnesota Vikings

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The Vikings are coming off a disappointing season in which a last-place finish in the NFC North cost coach Leslie Frazier his job. Now General Manager Rick Spielman needs to assemble a roster that new coach Mike Zimmer can build into a winner, or else Spielman himself could be gone at the end of the year.

The good news in Minnesota is that the Vikings have plenty of ammunition to improve in the draft: They have all of their own picks, meaning they have the eighth pick in all seven rounds, plus they acquired the Seahawks’ third-round pick, which is No. 96 overall, in last year’s Percy Harvin trade.

Here are the positions the Vikings need to improve in the draft:

Quarterback: The most important position in football was a disaster for the Vikings last year, as 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder failed to develop and mid-season acquisition Josh Freeman turned out to be a waste of money. Veteran Matt Cassel is not the long-term answer, but he could be a decent choice as the Vikings transition to a young quarterback of the future.

A few weeks ago, the biggest question most people were asking about the Vikings was whether any of the top three quarterbacks — Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Central Florida’s Blake Bortles — would be available with the eighth overall pick. But the draft stock of those quarterbacks has appeared to decline in the last few weeks, and now it looks like there’s a good chance that all three of them will be available. Manziel doesn’t appear to be a great fit for what Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner likes to do offensively, and Zimmer has expressed skepticism about Manziel. So Johnny Football probably won’t be heading to Minnesota.

But Bridgewater and Bortles both look like they could fit what Minnesota is trying to build. And if the Vikings don’t choose one of them in the first round, quarterbacks like Zach Mettenberger of LSU, Derek Carr of Fresno State, AJ McCarron of Alabama, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and Tom Savage of Pitt are all options on the second day of the draft. One way or another, expect the Vikings to draft a passer.

Guard: Minnesota could significantly upgrade its offensive line if it could find a guard who’s ready to start as a rookie and supplant the current starter at left guard, Charlie Johnson. The problem is that this year’s draft isn’t like last year’s draft: A year ago there was a bounty of supremely talented guard prospects in Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack, Kyle Long and Larry Warford. This year’s draft doesn’t have that kind of talent, and there’s not a guard whom the Vikings could justify selecting at No. 8 overall.

However, there are some interesting prospects for the Vikings for Day Two of the draft, including David Yankey of Stanford, Xavier Su’a-Filo of UCLA and Trai Turner of LSU. If the Vikings grab one of those guys in the second round, there’s a good chance that they’ll have an improved offensive line, bigger holes for Adrian Peterson and better protection for whoever their quarterback is.

Cornerback: At first glance, maybe this doesn’t look like a need for the Vikings: They used a first-round pick on a cornerback last year in Xavier Rhodes. Josh Robinson, a young cornerback who started the first 10 games of last season before suffering a fractured sternum, will be back. And slot cornerback Captain Munnerlyn has been signed. But the Vikings struggled mightily against opposing wide receivers this year, and they could use an infusion of talent in the secondary.

They’ll probably have their pick of the cornerback crop if they’re willing to use their first-round pick on one, as no cornerbacks are expected to go in the first seven picks. Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State could be options in the first round, and there are also fans of Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and TCU’s Jason Verrett.

Linebacker: Zimmer has a good track record of helping to develop young linebackers, and he’d love to add one or two this year. The best linebacker in the draft, Khalil Mack, won’t be there at No. 8, but there are some good options for the Vikings, including Alabama’s C.J. Mosley on the inside and Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier on the outside. A good young linebacker or two would go a long way toward building the kind of defense — and the kind of tough, physical team — that Zimmer wants in Minnesota.

23 responses to “Draft needs: Minnesota Vikings

  1. Before he started sliding, I could picture Bridgewater in Viking purple.

    I hope they don’t scoop up Barr, if that’s who my Titans are targeting.

  2. The Vikings Position needs:

    A franchise QB- Teddy Bridgewater at 8.
    A stud MLB – Another great late first round trade up when CJ Mosley falls.
    More depth at CB and Safety in the later rounds.

    We then will officially the most stacked team offensively with the firepower offensively of the 15-1 Vikings 1998 team.

    Also we will have a revamped defense with Mike Zimmer coaching who has never not had a top 5 Defense.

    All this will ultimately lead us to a division title and a Super Bowl berth.

    I can already see the purple and gold confetti falling.

  3. We have 18 divison titles – and about to be 19.

    How many do the lowly Packers have?

    NFC north 2015 Standings:
    Vikings: 13-3
    Bears 11-5
    Lions 9-7
    Packers 6-10

  4. I am glad Spielman hasn’t busted on every first round picks since 2010..Raji, Perry, Sherrod, Jones…What a mess..

  5. Vikings swap picks with the Browns, and take Bortles. (Ponder can handle QB for a year.) With Bortles physical attributes and Norv’s long game, watch out for the Vikes….starting in 2015.

    Have a little patience and reap the rewards!

  6. The Vikings are a joke of a franchise. AP has been on steep decline for the past few years and he was only average to begin with. But Christian Ponder can give them some hope. #nosuperbowlwins

  7. There are a lot worse QBs on NFL rosters that has never had the success Vince Young has had …(NFL Rookie of the Year, 2 Pro Bowls, Playoff experience and Mobility).
    This veteran quarterback has a career winning record of 31-19…
    GM/Coach, sit down and talk to this guy…I think he can help…..
    Don’t be afraid to give this guy a chance….

  8. Spielman has made a splash in recent years with taking numerous first round, high-profile picks (2012: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith; 2013: Xavier Rhodes, Cordarrelle Patterson, Shariff Floyd) but with the exception of a few players he hasn’t been great about developing the mid-round guys into starters. If you look at the best run franchises they all get value out of mid-round guys, Seattle especially. You can’t build a team solely on first round picks.

    Zimmer’s defenses have always been built not necessarily on the big-name guys but on the reliable, solid guys who get overlooked but work well in his scheme. So while the Vikings may not trade up to get Khalil Mack (as awesome as that would be) I am confident they will draft guys that Zimmer and his staff can coach up and be productive.

  9. Defense first round (or trade down), QB 2nd or round only if the QB they want is there, then draft for O-line depth. Or Spielman could go with the Ted Thompson method and trade down for eight 5th and 6th rounders that will be released in two years after sustaining neck, knee or hamstring injuries.

  10. Of course the Vikings have drafted better in the 1st round than the Packers. it’s easier to find playmakers having to pick always in the top 10, thanks to those brillants seasons they always have. 🙂

  11. No Bridgewater. No Manziel. Slight chance on Bortles. We need DEFENSE. Get over it people. Not taking any of these QBs.

  12. Over time I’ve grown to pity Viking fans who count division titles in lieu of championships. Face it, a division title means you were better than 3-4 other teams through the regular season. A championship means that you were better than EVERY other team in the league when all was said and done. And the Sconies Keep On Laughing (skol) at you Sad Kingdom Of Losers (skol) who are Still Keeping 0 Lombardi’s (skol).

  13. The Vikings are a joke of a franchise. AP has been on steep decline for the past few years and he was only average to begin with. But Christian Ponder can give them some hope. #nosuperbowlwins

    Over 2,000 yards off a blown knee……yup, average. Smh!!!

  14. This will absolutely be a trsde down pick. I believe that Barr, Mosley, Evans, Denard and Gilbert will all be available at 8, and we value t hem all the same.. so I could see a trade down to pick 12 or 13 and land Barr, then use the extra picks to get back into the first and select Mosley.

  15. The Vikings are going to need another running back, there is no way they pay Adrian 11 million next year with him hitting 30 years of age, should have traded him to dumbass jerry for multiple draft picks, a reverse Herschel Walker trade.

    (Not even one of the greatest running backs of all time AD can win the Vikings a Superbowl)

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