Vice president for player personnel Rick Spielman said this week that five positions could be in play for the Vikings with the 12th overall pick in the upcoming draft.
Naturally, Spielman didn't identify those positions.
“How many are there on a football field," he joked. "You guys are smart. You’ll figure out all the needs.”
Judd and I discussed this topic in our latest Access Vikings video but thought we would visit it here too:
Comment: No need for further comment here. This glaring hole in the roster has been discussed at length the past few months.
2. DEFENSIVE END
Comment: Ray Edwards seems likely to sign with another team, assuming he's an unrestricted free agent in a new collective bargaining agreement. The team signed Brian Robison to a new deal before the CBA expired, but it remains to be seen if he can be a full-time starter at left end or is still a situational player who can play multiple positions along the line, including defensive tackle in nickel situations. Everson Griffen is entering his second season but his consistency remains an issue.
Comment: Lots of questions at this spot. Cedric Griffin is coming off his second ACL surgery, and Chris Cook had two minor knee surgeries in a disappointing rookie season. Antoine Winfield, who turns 34 this summer, still plays at a high level but he's probably more comfortable playing in the slot at this stage. The Vikings like to use him in that spot regularly because he helps in run support and can blitz off the edge. It's hard to know what level Griffin can get back to after having his second major knee surgery. The team still has high hopes for Cook if he can stay healthy. Asher Allen is probably best suited for a nickel role so this could be an area the Vikings address early in the draft.
4. OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Comment: Left tackle Bryant McKinnie turns 32 in September so they need to find his eventual replacement at some point. Right tackle Phil Loadholt did not play as well in his second season as he did his rookie year, which he partly attributed to offseason shoulder surgery. They don't have anyone on the roster to push those two. It wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings used their first-round pick on this position.
5. WIDE RECEIVER
Comment: We would move this position up a few notches if we knew what will happen with Sidney Rice. If Rice ends up being an unrestricted free agent rather than restricted in a new CBA, we think there's a decent chance he signs elsewhere. That would make wide receiver a much higher priority. But that answer likely won't be known until after the draft so it's hard to know. Either way, the Vikings need help at this position. Percy Harvin is a dynamic talent in the slot, but Bernard Berrian is coming off two disappointing seasons.
We didn't list safety because it's not likely that they would use their first-round pick on that position with this safety draft class, but that position certainly could be upgraded. The Vikings also would like to get a tight end in the draft.
How would you rank the positions of need?