Minnesota Vikings Draft Needs

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The Minnesota Vikings surprised everyone last season. After going just 3-13 during the 2011-12 campaign, Minnesota finished 10-6 and made the playoffs as the final Wild Card team. A lot of that had to do with the amazing season of running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. In one of the most shocking moves of the offseason, Minnesota traded away extremely talented wide out Percy Harvin to Seattle for draft picks, which gives them the No. 23 and No. 25 picks in the first round. They helped ease the loss of Harvin by bringing in veteran Greg Jennings. They’ve also added in QB Matt Cassel and OG Seth Olsen. Here’s a look at the five positions the Vikings need to target in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Wide Receiver:

Even with the Vikings adding veteran Greg Jennings and re-signing Jerome Simpson, there is a major lack of talent at the wide receiver position. Quarterback Christian Ponder has been up and down in his first two seasons. He’s the type of quarterback that needs to have as many weapons as possible for him to reach his full potential. Whether it comes at No. 23 or No. 25, Minnesota needs to use one of their first round picks at wide receiver. The guys that I think would make an immediate impact are California’s Keenan Allen and Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson. Additional picks later in the draft should also be considered.

Defensive Tackle:

Veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams’ production started to decline last year. He turns 33 in August and can no longer be counted on to be a force in the middle of the front four. Minnesota runs a Tampa-2 Scheme and I expect them to go after a tackle who can get up the field and really disrupt the flow of the offense. Assuming Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is off the board, look for Minnesota to go after someone like North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams.

Linebacker:

Minnesota has a couple of solid linebackers in Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson, but there’s not a whole lot of talent at this position outside of these two. The Vikings need to be after an athletic middle linebacker who can cover a lot of ground and make plays against both the pass and the run. Don’t be surprised if they take a chance on Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o with one of their first round selections.

Cornerback:

The Vikings released starting corner Antoine Winfield, leaving a pretty big hole in the secondary that needs to be addressed. Outside of Chris Cook there’s not much to be excited about. There’s not a lot that separates the top four positions in terms of need, so there’s a good chance Minnesota will use one of their first round picks on a corner if they feel the right player is available. There’s plenty of depth at the corner position in the draft, so the ideal situation would be to fill two of the above needs in the first round and take the best corner available in the second round.

Offensive Guard:

The Vikings are set at both tackle spots and center, but could certainly use an upgrade inside at either guard spot. The addition of Seth Olson helps offset the loss of Geoff Schwartz. More than anything the Vikings need to add some depth here as they are extremely thin at this position.

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