Team Needs As the Draft Approaches

With the Adrian Peterson situation looking as unsettled as ever, it’s going to be difficult to accurately determine where our team needs the most help. However, as draft day continues to inch closer, those of us who live for football can’t help but speculate on who the team will target throughout the draft. Those decisions will depend in no small part, on positions where the team is weak and wants to improve.

The old mantra of drafting the best player available should still be used in this draft to some degree. But if the BPA is for a position that team clearly already has an overloaded abundance of talent, they would be better served to try to fill other vacancies on the roster instead. So I’m going to break down the roster and attempt to determine what positions should get the highest priority in the draft, once the team decides to start using team need to determine what player they should draft.

Offensive Line: Having 4 out of 5 starters returning to this group is encouraging, even moreso when the ones who were injured appear to be healthier than ever, and the high draft pick who has been under-performing is receiving high praise from the head coach. But there’s still a large hole at left guard. The starter, who arguably was the group’s largest weakness over the past few years was cut, and the team has made no moves to replace him. 2014 draft pick David Yankey may be ready to take over. He was projected to be drafted much higher than the 5th round where the Vikings were able to nab him, but even with the litany of injuries to the starters, he never took the field. Still, right guard Brandon Fusco didn’t play in his rookie season, but has been a reliable starter since. Unless Yankey is cleared as a definitive starter though, Left Guard should be among the top priorities for the team once the draft rolls around.

Receivers: This group includes WRs and TEs whose primary responsibilities are in the passing game. That includes Kyle Rudolph, Chase Ford, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Charles Johnson, Adam Theilen, and newly acquired veteran Mike Wallace. Wallace comes over from Miami with a Diva reputation, but also with some big play potential to back it up. The loss of Jennings may be minimized by the performance of Jarius Wright who has been underutilized by the team so far, compared to his abilities. The team is only slightly lacking in support for Wallace from a gunner on the other side of the field, but Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has expressed a lot of support for Johnson, and the team still has high hopes that Patterson can still learn to fill that role. This appears to be a small need for the team, and they should only address it if a great player slips much farther in the draft than he should, regardless of how tempting it may be to reunite Teddy with his former College or High School targets.

Running Backs: To keep things a little shorter, this group also includes TEs who are utilized more in the blocking scheme, and may transition to FB from time to time. They include Adrian Peterson, Jerrick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard, Zach Line and Rhett Ellison. This group is the big wild card. If Adrian Peterson plays for the team this year, and plays to his potential, then they are set to amaze us all in 2015. If, on the other hand, Adrian continues his tantrum into the season, they’re in need of some help. Unless things change in a hurry, the team may be better off trading Peterson for a high draft pick, and using that on one of the many promising rookies entering the draft this year. But that’s one big ‘if’ that can only be answered by Spielman at this point in time.

Quarterbacks: Teddy Bridgewater is joined by new free agent acquisition Shaun Hill, (who spent his first 4-years with the Vikings, but only played in one game), and all-around nobody Pat Devlin. The team would be wise to add one more depth player very late in the draft, but shouldn’t be worried at all about the position so long as they can keep Teddy healthy.

Defensive Tackles: The team has two good starters in Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd, who are supported by possibly the best backup DT in the league, Tom Johnson. Shamar Stephen also saw time, rotating in during his rookie year and got some good experience. This is another position in which the team shouldn’t pull the trigger unless a DT is far and away the BPA when one of their picks comes around in the draft.

Defensive Ends: Two more starters return to this group in Everson Griffen and Brian Robison. Although he’s under-performed a bit, Robison has still been a respectable starter ever since he stepped into the role, but his play has diminished recently with age. Add to that his relatively high annual salary, and it’s starting to look like a good time to start searching for his replacement. Scott Chrichton was drafted in the third round last year to potentially take on that role, but didn’t see the field at all in his rookie season, leaving his ability in question. With both starters returning, this still isn’t a huge need, but the team would be wise to start looking for someone in the early-mid rounds to develop and start pushing Robison out the door.

Linebackers: Anthony Barr, Chad Greenway, Audie Cole, Gerold Hodges and Michael Mauti all return to the team this year, along with rookie Brandon Watts who has yet to play in a game. Casey Matthews was added as a free agent, but hasn’t impressed many in his career so far in the NFL. The starting middle line backer was allowed to walk in free agency, leaving many people to speculate that the team should target his replacement early in the draft. However, with Greenway’s effectiveness on the outside starting to dwindle, I have been arguing that the team would be better suited to move him to the middle for the final couple years of his career while the team works on developing Cole and Hodges on the outside. This will help to minimize any losses if the team can’t find a starter in the draft, but will still allow them flexibility to draft one of the many higher quality OLBs in the early rounds of the draft once a better player slips through the cracks.

Cornerbacks: The team boasts one of the NFL’s best and most underrated corners in Xavier Rhodes, and they have just added a respected starter who seems to follow Zimmer around the NFL like a faithful puppy. While older, Terrance Newman provides the team with a man that the coaching staff trusts to man the outside and help the young players along for a year while the coaches develop his eventual replacement. This also allows Munnerlyn to settle into his natural position in the slot, and keeps the less-than-stellar Robinson on the sideline unless an emergency arises. This also gives youngsters Shaun Prater and Jabari price a little more leeway to develop their skills. While the position appears to be reliably covered for this season, the team should have no qualms in drafting a stud early on if they see a guy who has the potential to shine in Zimmer’s system.

Safeties: Harrison Smith was a pro-bowl snub, and will be preparing a big year to help him solidify a new deal before his rookie contract expires. Assisting him will be Robert Blanton, who probably unjustly has been the recipient of heavy criticism from fans. Backing them up are 2014 rookies Ahmad Dixon and Antone Exum Jr., along with Andrew Sendejo and FA acquisition Taylor Mays. This group is pretty deep with young potential, but it’s also a lot of unproven potential. The first two rounds of the draft would definitely be better suited to address different positions, but BPA can easily come into play for Safety after that.

Special Teams: Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but long snapper Cullen Loeffler is starting to show his age. The team should definitely try to target an offensive lineman who can specialize in the long snapping duties in the later rounds of the draft so that they don’t have to keep the withering Loeffler around much longer. As a kick returner, Patterson had disappeared a lot in his second year, but hopes are that he will return to form soon. Punt returner Marcus Sherels still remains one of the better at the job in the NFL, so competition for him shouldn’t be much of a factor in the deciding process for the draft.

96 comments on “Team Needs As the Draft Approaches

  1. Well done, Parody, this is awesome. I too agree that the LG spot is by far the biggest concern going into the draft, unless the team likes what they see from Yankey, but I expect them to draft an offensive linemen within the first three rounds. I’m just not in favor of taking a WR early in the draft, I think with Wallace, Johnson, Patterson, and Wright, we have a pretty good group for Teddy. I’m curious to see the linebacker situation unfold though, can Audie Skol finally take the step up to be a starter? What’s gunna happen with Greenway? A guy like Shaq Thompson being available at pick 11 would make things interesting too.

    • Yes, that is Dogra. He should have earned it earlier for his fight with Vikings personnel, but stepping in and publicly asking why AD should have any reason to want to play for our team not only guarantees him the honor for the week, it also puts his name as the front runner for DBOTCentury.

  2. Was watching a random show and a girl accidentally knocks another onto train tracks leading to the one dying. The girl responsible for this says:
    I just wanted to surprise her…

    Now I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure she was surprised right up till the train hit her.

  3. Nice summary.

    I’m thinking that with all the negative publicity over the past few years, and how quasi-embarrassing it was to sign Brock Lesnar, they must really see some potential in the big guy.

  4. I would prefer a Scherff at 11, but if he is gone trade back get an extra 3rd or 4th and then draft LSU CB Jalen Collins at the traded back position.
    Then in the 2nd draft Hobart OG/T Ali Marpet guy can do it all and will only get better with time.
    In the 3rd depending on if my fictional trade nets an extra 3rd go LB or S and WR, likely WR Vince Mayle and LB Paul Dawson (thank you bad 40 time) or S Jaquiski Tartt.

  5. Knowing that Spielman likes to go into drafts with 10 picks, leads me to believe that we’ll be trading back in the first unless someone like Scherff is still on the board. As of now we have seven picks, two of which are 7th rounders, so at some point I think we’ll be trading back.

  6. http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/sports/football/3710675-nfl-vikings-munnerlyn-unconcerned-about-newman-signing

    Munnerlyn says “……I just have to play a lot better than I did last year.”

    My problem with people like that is, if you can play a lot better this year than you did last year, why didn’t you just play better last year? All the tools available to make you better this year were available to you last year. He’s a veteran, not a rookie.

  7. Starting to think if we can get one of these pass rushing linebackers early we should go for it. Someone like Vic Beasley or something. I’m convinced we’re not going to draft a WR not that I think we shouldn’t but Wallace and Johnson are going to be #1 & #2 so what’s the point.

  8. Practice squad QB Devlin released.

    I looked at the current roster and saw some names I’m not familiar with – they don’t have a jersey number assigned. I can’t find a list of PS players right now either.

    Anyone know anything about DeMarcus Van Dyke CB, Brian Peters LB, Leon Mackay DE, Jalil Carter CB, and Chigbo Anunoby DT?

    Were they PS players, or where did they come from?

    We now have 72 on the roster, with AP not counting for anything.

      • Thank you! I’ve been following for a while, but finally decided to subscribe.

        I like the film I’ve seen on Crichton. I just feel like you can never have too many pass rushers, especially in Zimmers defense. Zimmer obviously feel that they need another DE to fill the roster spot for Corey Wootton(Multiply failed attempts at signing one in FA). Why not take the best player available if Gregory is there after a trade back?

        I think the draft class is kind of weak in terms of first round talent barring the pass rushers. Also, we have the most balanced roster we’ve had in years. So that situation can be applied to any position we draft.

        I really want a LG, but I’m not crazy about taking a offensive lineman in the first!

        • Welcome fella! Im all for adding pass rushers and if we can get a guy that’s anything like Anthony Barr I’m for it. I think with Teddy and how many great young players we’ve got we can afford to just draft the best guys available regardless of position. Can never have enough good players! I don’t like spending a high pick on a guard but Brandon Scherff would be s monster on that line. Instant impact with pro bowl potential.

          • I like Scherff, but two things worry me about him. The first is the level of competition he went against in college. Most of the guys he was mauling were nobodies. I wish there was film of him going up against some of the good pass rushers in this draft.

            The second concern is that he is rumored to have problems with fast guys. I feel like for him to be a O-lineman drafted as high as 15, there should be no flaws in his game.

            Also, a decent amount of Offensive lineman projected to go high in the draft usually fall to the late first, early second every year. Hell Yankey was projected to be a second round pick last year. I think we can find great value in the second and third round!

    • I’m not a fan of getting a WR in the first. We don’t have a bevy of superstars at the position, but there’s plenty of players with a load of potential waiting to be unleashed. Wright, Johnson and Patterson all have what it takes to be really good players, so I think it would be a waste of a draft pick to grab another WR who would block their chances of realizing their potential with the Vikings.

  9. I also like Beasley a lot, but I think there’s no way he fall to us. Between his production in college, his measurables, and his combine numbers, he will be high on a lot of draft boards!

    I feel like we don’t need a receiver, but Amari Cooper is a rare player. We didn’t need a RB in 2007, but I’m extremely happy we made the pick we did. You never know what will happen. If Charles Johnson so happens to get hurt(knocks on wood), we would be back in a tight spot at receiver. I also don’t think Johnson is that great of a receiver to justify not drafting one if they happen to be BPA!

    I would hate for us to lose value with our pick because we’re avoiding positions!

    • Welcome to the home team. A linebacker is on my radar, but not in the 1st. I’ve been skeptical of our makeshift O-line all last season. So I’m more in favor of Scherff coming on board if he drops to us, or even Trae Waynes to pair with Rhodes at CB…

      • I want us to stay away from Trae Waynes and I’m tired of people mocking him to us.

        I’ve read from Michigan State fans that Waynes has stiff hips and is a bit overrated! Also, people label him as a true shut down man to man corner, but he’s not. Everybody says that Michigan State ran primarily a zone defense and Waynes duty was to play his space, not turn and run with his man.Similar to what people say about Richard Sherman.

        I’m only open to taking a corner with the 11th pick if he is truly a shut down corner. I trust Zimmer to evaluate him. If we get him, Zimmer must be able to coach him into a beast. To sum it all up, I think he’s a bit over hyped. I think it was the combine. Some think Marcus Peters would be the number 1 corner if not for his off-field issues!

        Lastly, I know Josh Robinson personally, we went to high school together! I think he’s one of those players you have to be patient with. He didn’t do to bad last year according to a article Zach Kruse from bleacher report wrote(article below), Josh improved last year and had a positive PFF grade(+2.6).

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2411152-terence-newman-is-perfect-veteran-cb-to-mentor-young-vikings-secondary

        • Can’t lie. i’ve been critical of Josh for most of the season, but in all he hasn’t been bad..that game he had at Chicago last season just left me with a lasting impression of him and i thought his confidence was on shaky ground. then after that opposing offenses were going at him to further expose him, but you’re on point. after the Chicago game he did play better. just curious where he’s gonna be on the depth chart coming into next season…

          • I say it’s gonna be up to him to improve off of last year. The coaching staff might draft a CB in the first three rounds. I wouldn’t blame them if they did. Zimmer isn’t the type of coach that’s gonna baby a player either.

            This year’s camp is going to be intense with all the competition we’re bringing in. Nobodies position is safe. I can’t wait!

  10. Good point on the ‘we didn’t need a RB’ – but, how many other coaches passed on him?

    We seem to have better luck when an overlooked/underrated gem falls to us, rather than picking a highly prized player.

  11. AP to meet with NFL regarding reinstatement this week, earlier than expected, could just be a preliminary meeting, but that’s to be found out later.

    Not sure who is the impetus behind this – 3 possibliites are AP/agent, the Vikings, or the NFL. All 3 have good reasons to speed things up.

    AP/Agent may have requested to move up the date in order to allow more time for “other teams” to restructure rosters and cap amounts that would cover his trade once his reinstatement is announced.

    Vikings may have requested it so they can more accurately plan for the draft.

    NFL may have moved it up so they stop getting bad press.

      • I’m torn.

        Part of me wants to see our offense explode with him on the field, taking attention away from Wallace, Johnson, Rudolph, Patterson, Thielen, and Wright.

        The other part of me wants to say “Get the hell off the team you ungrateful bastard.” Paid him $12 million to work out in a gym all season, and he says “the team didn’t have my back.”

        We won 6 games with a rookie QB, an O-line made of Swiss cheese, and without AP.

    • I’ve been trying to tell myself the same thing. But then I ask, why? With all the bad publicity AP is garnering from not sharing the ENTIRE story, why did he speak up at all? If there was something more to the story, someone who has proven to be a loose cannon in front of the media surely would have revealed what that was by now. The only explanation I can come up with are that AP has other motives, and he’s not sharing them because they are completely self-serving, and disrespectful to any of his local fans that still exist.

  12. AP says he is “anxious for the next chapter” of his life.

    Does that sound anything like “really looking forward to playing in purple again” to anyone else?

    Nah, didn’t think so.

    • If he hasn’t signed by now, then it’s unlikely he’ll find a team before the draft. I think we can be patient and see how it all plays out. If we don’t find a day-1 starter in the draft, then I’ll be pushing for Spikes at a 3-4 year deal, worth a bit over $1M per season. That would be a HUGE bargain, even if he’s only a 2-down player.

  13. According to a source, AP has not participated in the mandatory counseling as directed by Goodell. He HAS participated in counseling of his own, but not with the counselor set up by the NFL.

    http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/source-peterson-takes-issue-with-nfl-mandated-counseling-program-040715

    Goodell’s decision was to be based in part by the progress reports from this counselor.

    Can you say “Reinstatement……..DENIED” ????

    • Why does it matter who the counselor is? If it’s a qualified practitioner, Goodell should have no grounds for using this as a reason to deny him his reinstatement. It’s just a sign that the owners (Goodell represents the owners) are trying way too hard to have complete control over every aspect of the players’ lives. They need to start putting more focus on what the players do on the field, and back out of their personal lives.

        • That would be up to Adrian to authorize his records be shared. It would be the same had Adrian decided to go to Goodell’s practitioner; his records are still his to share regardless of what professional he is meeting with. The NFL can try to impose penalties for not sharing them, but they have no inherent right to view them in either situation.

  14. How about this for a Peterson trade:
    Our first (#11) and Adrian Peterson for both of Cleveland’s firsts (#12 & #19). They don’t have much at RB right now, and have been big time trade partners for us in the past. Ownership seems to like the media hype a lot more than winning to boot (Johnny Manziel). They just may be dumb enough to make this offer.

    • Lots of theories about a Day 1 razzle-dazzle with AP as trade stock. But, if he’s not reinstated next week nobody will touch him.

      We’ve got SO many options with our #11 pick, it would not surprise me to see Spielman trade down in the first for either another late-first or a very early 2nd.

  15. I read something this morning saying AP will either be reinstated or not, long before the NFL’s grievance is heard by a court. Which is better news than what I previously thought.

    However, consider these facts:
    1. Goodell decides whether or not to reinstate AP.
    2. AP did not set up counselling with the counselor Goodell instructed him to, which was to be a LARGE factor in determining reinstatement.
    3. The NFL recently filed to overturn the reversal of AP’s suspension.
    4. Goodell IS the NFL.

    It would appear to my untrained eye that AP’s football this year will be played on an X-Box.

  16. I just have a gut feeling that AP will be reinstated and will be on the block for the draft. Having one of the leagues best RB as a bargaining chip in the first round. Makes too much ” business” sense. Just my opinion anyway.

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