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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Ranking the Vikings draft needs by position

By Matthew Coller

Draft week is finally here. As we prepare for the Minnesota Vikings to be on the clock with the No. 30 pick in the first round, let’s have a look at their biggest needs heading into the draft…

1. Offensive line

Starters: LT Riley Reiff, RG Nick Easton, C Pat Elflein, RT Mike Remmers

Following the retirement of Joe Berger, the Vikings do not have a starting right that. That does not mean that they have to focus on guard alone. Mike Remmers could move to guard if there is a top tackle prospect available at No. 30. Centers will also be considered. Many of them have either played guard in the past or could make the transition quickly. In a deep class of linemen, the Vikings don’t have to draft a lineman in the first round, but finding a starter for 2018 is imperative since Minnesota elected not to sign a big-name free agent guard.

The Vikings do have decent depth along the line with backup tackle Rashod Hill, newly-signed guard Tom Compton and last year’s fifth-round pick Danny Isidora. But there would be no complaints from Vikings fans if they picked two linemen in the first three rounds.

2. Cornerback

Starters: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander

The starters also happen to be the only corners with experience on the roster. The Vikings have not made a signing this offseason despite poking around different nickel corners in free agency. With free agents like Terence Newman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brashaud Breeland still on the market, they could still could add a DB. But going into Thursday night, they are in desperate need of depth and potentially a slot corner. With Trae Waynes set to become a free agent after the 2019 season (assuming the Vikings pick up his extension), it’s possible Minnesota could also be thinking long term with a cornerback pick.

3. Defensive tackle

Starters: Sheldon Richardson, Linval Joseph

With several very good DT prospects in this year’s draft, the three-technique position could be addressed early in the draft for the Vikings. Richardson is unlikely to be a Viking past 2018 and GM Rick Spielman mentioned wanting to improve the depth on the D-line for this year’s club.

4. Tight end

Starter: Kyle Rudolph

The Vikings should take every opportunity to add playmakers, even if it’s at a position they believe is solid. Rudolph has been very good over the last two years, but adding a vertical threat early in the draft could add an extra layer to John DeFilippo’s offense. To preserve Rudolph long term, the Vikings could benefit from having a pass-catching TE who can give him some rest rather than playing more than 90 percent of snaps. Next year, he is also owed $7.6 million with zero dead cap money if the Vikings want to move on.

5. Safety

Starters: Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo

With Sendejo set to turn 31 in September, the Vikings should be looking down the road for a future partner for Smith. Late draft picks like Jayron Kearse and Jack Tocho have not produced his successor. The Vikings’ defense could be aiming to become more dynamic, too. There are a number of safety prospects who are chess pieces who could allow the Vikings to give opponents different looks than they have traditionally used under Mike Zimmer.

6. Wide receiver

Starters: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kendall Wright

The Vikings got an incredibly good deal by signing Wright to a one-year, $1 million deal. He patches a hole that was noticable on the 2017 version. However, it does not appear he will be a long-term solution, especially with Diggs set to either sign an extension, be franchise tagged or leave via free agency next year. The Vikings drafted two receivers in the late rounds last year, one of which has already retired from the league and the other who had zero receptions. It also does not appear Laquon Treadwell will be a major part of the offense going forward. Not to mention that any playmaker to support Kirk Cousins is a good playmaker.

7. Pass rusher

Starters: Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter

The edge rushers are currently set, but the depth is questionable. Tashawn Bower showed flashes in preseason and the Vikings have liked Stephen Weatherly, but neither has seen much of the field. Griffen is an elite player at his position, but is also 30 years old. It would help his longevity to have another skilled player rushing the passer.

8. Running back

Starter: Dalvin Cook

The Vikings are set at No. 1 and No. 2 with Cook and Latavius Murray. The exit of Jerick McKinnon may have opened up a slot unless the Vikings are set on giving Mack Brown a shot. They could still use some versatility out of the backfield with a pass-catching back.

9. Linebacker

Starters: Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr

Last year’s fourth-round pick Ben Gedeon was solid in his role as a run stuffer, but the Vikings have not found a replacement depth backer for Emmanuel Lamur, who left in free agency for Oakland.

10. Quarterback

Starter: Kirk Cousins

The Vikings don’t have any reason to draft a quarterback unless it’s a developmental player in the seventh.

The post Ranking the Vikings draft needs by position appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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