Position-by-position analysis of the Vikings' draft needs

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2013 - 12:27 AM

The Vikings head into this week’s NFL draft with plenty of currency. They have two picks — Nos. 23 and 25 — on Thursday and 11 selections overall

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o could be the linebacker that the Vikings covet to play next to Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson.

Photo: Star Tribune and AP file ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings head into this week’s NFL draft with plenty of currency. They have two picks — Nos. 23 and 25 — on Thursday and 11 selections overall, offering General Manager Rick Spielman ample opportunity to upgrade the roster.

So just how will the organization choose to use its picks? Here’s how we see the Vikings’ priorities by position:

Linebackers

Level of draft need: High. Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson bring continuity. But the Vikings are without a starting middle linebacker and need to find a guy who not only has athleticism, toughness and coverage ability but offers intangibles as an on-field leader and can be relied on as a three-down force.

 

Cornerbacks

Level of draft need: High. Antoine Winfield’s exit — released March 12, signed by Seattle on April 12 — might have made cornerback the position of highest priority for the Vikings. At present, the team’s top three corners are Chris Cook, Josh Robinson and A.J. Jefferson. And there’s little quality depth beyond that.

 

Receivers

Level of draft need: High. Even with Greg Jennings aboard, the Vikings owe it to themselves to surround quarterback Christian Ponder with as many weapons as possible if they want to complete his three-year evaluation fairly. Ponder and the offense badly need an outside speed threat. More reliable depth at the position is necessary, too. Nabbing at least two receivers in the draft seems likely.

 

Defensive line

Level of draft need: Moderate. The Vikings are content with the way the Letroy Guion-Fred Evans tandem worked at nose tackle in 2012, so the priorities at defensive tackle will revolve around finding additional three-technique options in the search for Kevin Williams’ successor. The defensive end position seems more solidified. But it is worth noting that Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen are all entering the final year of their contracts.

 

Offensive line

Level of draft need: Moderate. The Vikings started the same five players for all 16 games last season. And that quintet returns intact with growing confidence and chemistry. But more quality depth is needed. Day 3 could be the place to find some.

 

Safety

Level of draft need: Moderate. While there again might be a startling lack of depth at cornerback, the Vikings feel they have a full stable of potential playmakers at safety. Harrison Smith is the headliner while Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond and Robert Blanton all have promise in their own ways. Coach Leslie Frazier is thrilled with the level of competition that exists.

 

Specialists

Level of draft need: Low. After a ridiculously good rookie campaign, Blair Walsh’s job is safe. But is punter Chris Kluwe’s? Kluwe had left knee meniscus surgery in the offseason, and Spielman hasn’t exactly stamped his eccentric punter as “untouchable.” The GM signed punter T.J. Conley in January and could eye the draft for options. With Percy Harvin gone, the Vikings also might look for an explosive returner.

 

Running back

Level of draft need: Low. The league’s MVP (Adrian Peterson) has a Pro Bowl lead blocker (Jerome Felton). The depth chart seems solid for 2013. But Toby Gerhart also is entering the final year of his rookie contract. And if he seeks to hit free agency to find greater opportunity in 2014, the Vikings might want to start shopping for potential backfield backups.

 

Tight ends

Level of draft need: None. Kyle Rudolph still is ascending, a dangerous red zone weapon who made great strides with his blocking a year ago. In Frazier’s words, Rhett Ellison still sets the standard as the team’s best blocking tight end, which has earned him a chance to be on the field more in 2013.

 

Quarterback

Level of draft need: None. Heading into the season, Ponder is the undisputed starter. Matt Cassel owns the backup role. With so many other needs, using a pick on a quarterback seems impractical.

 

  • related content

  • Anchor for Vikings D-line is possible in Round 1

    Wednesday April 24, 2013

    With the contracts of Kevin Williams and others expiring, the Vikings could look to beef up.

  • Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Chad Greenway

  • Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 88 FINAL
Charlotte 79
Philadelphia 103 FINAL
Detroit 109
Dallas 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Boston 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 3
Arizona 0 FINAL
Minnesota 2
Carolina 0 FINAL
Calgary 5
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Columbus 5 FINAL
San Jose 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close