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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Ranking Vikings draft needs by position

By Matthew Coller


Most of the NFL’s best free agents have found homes, so now it’s time to start turning our attention to the NFL draft.

While the Minnesota Vikings do not have a first-round pick, they will be making plenty of selections with a second, two thirds and two fourth-round picks.

Assuming there are no major trades and only depth signings to come, let’s have a look at the Vikings’ biggest needs by position. (Positions are not ranked by the likelihood the Vikings will use picks on those spots, but where they most need to develop talent and create depth).


The Vikings have drafted fourth-round tackles in each of the last two years and both picks have gone belly up quickly. Willie Beavers was the highest pick in the draft to get released before the start of the season and TJ Clemmings was one of the lowest rated tackles in the NHL by Pro Football Focus metrics last season. In turn, the Vikings were forced to spend in free agency to sign Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.

Cam Robinson is one of the highest rated tackles in the draft

By no means should Minnesota considered Reiff and Remmers “Mission Accomplished” when it comes to fixing the tackle position. Neither player has been above average over the course of their career and both players’ contracts allow the Vikings to move on after a few years in the case that they develop a star tackle. They cannot leave the draft without at least one, maybe two.


If you were taking bets on which position the Vikings will pick with the 48th overall selection, guard would be the favorite. The Vikings have their 2017 tackles in place, but are open at the guard spot. Next year they can move on from Alex Boone without penalty and slated right guard starter Jeremiah Sirles shouldn’t be considered a lock by any means. A second-round guard could very reasonably compete for a starting spot in training camp.

Running back

With Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon in the backfield, there shouldn’t be a sense of desperation to fill a running back spot in the second round, but a deep crop of running backs might convince the Vikings to select one early with hopes of finding their next franchise runner. Neither Murray or McKinnon are 300-carry type back, so finding a capable third wheel to form a running back trio like New England or Oakland had last season would be beneficial to the VIkings’ offensive attack, especially if the rookie was a dual-threat back.

Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Alvin Kamara (6) in action during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end

While Kyle Rudolph is coming off a career year, it’s a two tight end league and with Rudolph’s contract situation, the Vikings may be thinking about developing their future starter. In 2018, Rudolph is set to have a $7.3 million cap hit and the VIkings can move on with only $1.2 million in dead money. With star players like Xavier Rhodes, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs’ contracts all on the horizon, the Vikings might have to cut costs. Immediately, they could use a capable run blocker, depending on whether David Morgan can fill the role, and another receiving threat would be key in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense.

Defensive tackle

Sharrif Floyd’s future is up in the air. The former first-round pick missed nearly the entire 2016 season with a knee issue that apparently still isn’t 100%. Floyd, who is a free agent after this season, is a terrific player when healthy, but if he can’t stay on the field, the Vikings will have to find a replacement – maybe even for this year. Even if Floyd does play all 16 games, Tom Johnson is 32 and Shamar Stephen did not play well enough to assure himself the backup spot. As far as the second round goes, odds would be high of a DT considering the player could step right into a starting role next to Linval Joseph if needed.

Wide receiver

While Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are 1A and 1B, making up one of the NFL’s better receiver duos, but the struggles of last year’s first-round pick Laquon Treadwell should have the Vikings worried about their depth at the position. Jarius Wright has fallen out of favor and Cordarrelle Patterson left for Oakland in free agency. Since Diggs and Thielen are both all-around receivers, the Vikings could focus on either a speedy playmaker or a deep threat.

Nov 5, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross (1) scores a touchdown against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Joe Berger is 34 and probably doesn’t have many years left in the tank, but he’s currently the Vikings’ best offensive lineman, so there isn’t desperate need to fill the center spot, especially with Nick Easton showing some potential last year. However, the way the draft tends to go, there is usually an opportunity to find a quality center in the middle rounds. If Easton isn’t the long-term answer, the Vikings may want to find Berger’s successor.


Andrew Sendejo proved he is a viable starter after heading into the 2016 season as a question mark.When he or Harrison Smith got hurt, however, the Vikings saw a massive drop in the quality of play. Mike Zimmer has said he’s excited about the future for seventh-round pick Jayron Kearse, but neither he or Anthony Harris showed that they can fill in for a short period of time.


You can never have too many cornerbacks. The Vikings have picked CBs in top two rounds in each of the last two years, but haven’t spent many picks on them in the later rounds recently. With Terence Newman electing to return, the 2017 defensive backfield is mostly set unless Minnesota brings in one more free agent. But as the Vikings plan for the post-Newman era, another cornerback could be picked.

Defensive end

As far as starters go, the Vikings are set for awhile with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, but they could stand to add one more D-end to the mix. Stephen Weatherly didn’t see much of the field in Year 1 after being selected in the seventh round and Datone Jones is likely a short-term solution. It wouldn’t be stunning to see a late-round pick go to another rusher.


Anthony Barr’s situation will be one to watch closely. After he struggled last year, the Vikings may hesitate to lock him into a spot long term – though they are likely to at least pick up his fifth-year option. Eric Kendricks took a big step forward and is locked in as a very good cover linebacker. The third linebacker position, an opening left by Chad Greenway’s retirement, is up for a battle in camp if the Vikings don’t bring in a free agent. Kentrell Brothers, Emmanuel Lamur and Edmond Robinson should fight for that spot. It isn’t a high priority for the Vikings.


Sep 24, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) throws a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t much of a pressing need to draft a quarterback and 90% of the time spending a late pick on a QB is a wasted pick. If the Vikings would prefer a rookie be their backup next year, selecting one in the third or fourth round is the most likely play to find a diamond in the rough.


The Vikings shouldn’t consider picking a kicker.


Same, only with the word “punter” in there instead.

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

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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