The Vikings’ tight cap situation prevented them from making major additions in free agency, and they will need to address a number of spots in the draft — starting, presumably, with the offensive line.
Guard: Josh Kline, signed in free agency, remains the only player on the roster with starting experience at the position. The Vikings could move Riley Reiff to guard if they find a tackle they like in the draft; otherwise, they will need to add an immediate contributor.
Tackle: A left tackle could allow the Vikings to try Reiff at guard after a disappointing season; a right tackle could let them think about moving Brian O’Neill to the left side.
Tight end: With Kyle Rudolph in the final year of his contract, the Vikings could think about the future or add the downfield threat they’ve explored adding in free agency and the trade market in recent years.
Wide receiver: Depth is needed behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, with Laquon Treadwell in the final year of his contract and players such as Chad Beebe and Brandon Zylstra largely unproven.
Defensive tackle: The Vikings brought back Shamar Stephen to help replace Sheldon Richardson, but they could still use a dynamic player at the three-technique spot.
Linebacker: Though Ben Gedeon has been a capable run-stopper, the Vikings could look to add a weakside linebacker with more versatility to play alongside Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Safety: Anthony Harris replaced Andrew Sendejo as the starter opposite Harrison Smith last year, but the Vikings might benefit from a safety they could use in a number of different packages as a run stopper.
Defensive end: Everson Griffen is back on a restructured deal, and they have young players (such as Stephen Weatherly) they like. But they are usually on the lookout for edge rushers and could add another one with Griffen turning 32 in December.
Goessling’s Mock Draft
Offensive line tops the list of the Vikings’ needs, with a number of other positions that merit strong consideration through the early rounds. Here’s a full seven-round mock draft, with our best educated guesses at how the Vikings will spend their eight picks this weekend.
First Pick: Round 1, 18th overall
Garrett Bradbury, C, N.C. State
His athleticism and intellect make him a natural fit for the Vikings’ outside zone scheme. Picking Bradbury would likely mean moving Pat Elflein to guard (where he played in college) but would allow Riley Reiff to stay at tackle.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa: The Vikings have done some homework on tight ends, and if Hockenson is on the board, his all-around game could earn him strong consideration as a complement (or eventual successor) to Kyle Rudolph.
Brian Burns, DE, Florida State: He would need to add weight to his frame in the NFL, but he’s already a strong run defender with a deep repertoire of pass rushing moves. If he’s still on the board at No. 18, he could be tempting.
Second Pick: Round 2, 50th overall
Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
The son of a former Saints tight end, the younger Smith has the versatility as both a blocker and receiver to come and contribute right away to a Vikings offense that could employ more two tight-end sets with Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak putting together the scheme.
Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College: If the Vikings don’t take a lineman in Round 1 — or if they are looking for a second one in Round 2 — Lindstrom’s athletic ability and his NFL pedigree would make him another obvious fit for the team’s outside zone scheme.
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State: He was barred from attending the combine because of a physical altercation with a woman in 2016, and he’ll slide out of the first round after tearing his ACL during a February workout. But if the Vikings feel good enough about his medical and off-field question marks, his size (6-4) and suddenness could make him awfully attractive.
Third Pick: Round 3, 81st overall
Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
The Park Center graduate visited with the Vikings before the draft and could excel in the NFL as a zone coverage safety thanks to his ability to disguise coverages, recognize routes and make plays on the ball.
Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State: He would give the Vikings the kind of size and physicality at receiver that they had hoped to get from Laquon Treadwell, and he has got a solid ability to change directions for a 6-3, 200-pound receiver.
Dawson Knox, TE, Mississippi: If the Vikings decided to wait on a tight end, Knox — who’s been a productive route-runner over the middle of the field and has earned some comparisons to Rudolph — could be of interest to them here, as could Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger.
Fourth Pick: Round 4, 120th overall
Daniel Wise, DT, Kansas
The Vikings signed Shamar Stephen last month, but they could use another option at three-technique tackle and can develop Wise into a contributor at that spot while they work on his ability to anchor against the run.
Max Scharping, T, Northern Illinois: If the Vikings waited until the middle rounds to add a tackle prospect, Scharping could be an intriguing option — though he would likely need to improve his quickness and technique to deal with outside rushers in the NFL.
Sione Takitaki, LB, Brigham Young: The 6-1 linebacker is a tackling machine with an interesting back story; after being kicked off his team for misdemeanor theft in 2015, he took 2016 off to clean up his life, got married and eventually returned as a team captain.
Fifth Pick: Round 6, 190th overall
Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
The Vikings scouted Hurd before the draft and could be intrigued with his size (6-4, 229 pounds) if they believe he can be an effective enough route-runner.
Bunchy Stallings, G, Kentucky: The Vikings saw Stallings play at the East-West Shrine game, and he could attract their attention on Day 3 as a hard-nosed player with more mobility than his body would suggest.
Andrew Beck, FB/TE, Texas: With David Morgan headed for free agency after this season and C.J. Ham set to become a restricted free agent, Beck’s blocking capabilities could help the Vikings as they look to keep costs down at certain positions.
Sixth Pick: Round 6, 209th overall
Ty Summers, LB, TCU
The Vikings scouted Summers at his pro day and could be intrigued by his speed, especially as a special teamer; he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami (Fla.): The 6-1 safety is a strong tackler who is good in coverage and could have the ability to help deal with tight ends in the NFL.
Shareef Miller, DE, Penn State: The Vikings often add a pass rusher late in the draft, and Miller fits the profile they typically use: He’s 6-4 and 254 pounds, with a quick first step and a 4.69-second 40-yard dash.
Seventh Pick: Round 7, 247th overall
John Cominsky, DE, Charleston
His athletic ability — the one-time quarterback ran a 4.69 40 — and his length give him plenty of upside, and his inexperience as a pass rusher could make him available this late. Cominsky could be the Vikings’ next project for defensive line coach Andre Patterson.
John Ursua, WR, Hawaii: He met with the Vikings before the draft and could be an intriguing slot receiver prospect in the late rounds.
Oli Udoh, T, Elon: The Vikings met with the big tackle prospect before the draft; at 6-6, he would cast quite the presence on the right side of their offensive line.
Eighth Pick: Round 7, 250th overall
Trey Pipkins, T, Sioux Falls
He would be a project, but he has the size and strength to be worth a look as a developmental tackle this late in the draft; he was a former school record-holder in the discus at Apple Valley.
Luke Gifford, LB, Nebraska: The Vikings held a private workout with Gifford this spring and could look at him as an undrafted free agent if they don’t pick him.
Jeff Smith, WR, Boston College: Smith came to Minnesota for a pre-draft visit this month, and though he has struggled with dropped passes, the converted quarterback has the speed to get the Vikings’ attention; he ran a 4.34 40 at his pro day.