Chart: Vikings needs by position

  • Updated: May 7, 2014 - 12:24 AM

The talk around town has been dominated by quarterbacks, but the Vikings have other needs to address so new coach Mike Zimmer can turn this ship around. He and General Manager Rick Spielman have eight draft picks to work with, including two third-rounders. Which positions will they prioritize? Here’s our best guess:

QUARTERBACKS

Level of need * High

The Vikings brought back Matt Cassel, which they say gives them the ability to pass on a signal-caller with the No. 8 pick. But at some point, presumably sooner than later, they will draft a quarterback for the future, toss him a clipboard and let him watch Cassel for a while.

RUNNING BACKS:

Level of need * Moderate

Adrian Peterson is 29 and human — no machine parts were found during his latest offseason surgery — and Toby Gerhart left in free agency. Peterson can’t carry the ball every time, so the Vikings, who have checked out college backs, need someone to give him a breather.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Level of need * Low

Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, who electrified in a limited role as a rookie, are penciled in as the starting wideouts. Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson provide depth. But this draft is said to be stacked with talented receivers, so don’t be surprised by a luxury pick at WR.

TIGHT ENDS

Level of need * Moderate

Kyle Rudolph is healthy and a year removed from the Pro Bowl. He is also a year away from free agency and his backup, John Carlson, was not re-signed. How they feel about Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford could determine if they spend one of their eight picks on a tight tend.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Level of need * Moderate

Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt are one of the NFL’s better tackle duos and C John Sullivan is solid. The guard spots are less certain. They have options in Brandon Fusco, Charlie Johnson, Jeff Baca and Vlad Ducasse, but they could look to add another to the mix or draft a swing tackle.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Level of need * Moderate

The Vikings will have three new starters (DE Everson Griffen, DT Sharrif Floyd and NT Linval Joseph) on their front four and new DE Corey Wootten provides depth. But Zimmer likes to rotate on the D-line, and there will be intriguing options to choose from deep in the draft.

LINEBACKERS

Level of need * High

OLB Chad Greenway is the only sure bet to start. Jasper Brinkley, Audie Cole, Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges and others are battling for the other two spots. One or two of those linebackers might emerge, but the Vikings could use a top-end talent infused into this group.

CORNERBACKS

Level of need * High

The Vikings did well in adding Captain Munnerlyn, who can play outside or in the slot, to pair with 2013 first-rounder Xavier Rhodes. But in today’s NFL, you need at least three starting-caliber corners. They might not trust Josh Robinson or Derek Cox to be that third guy.

SAFETIES

Level of need * Moderate

One spot is set with FS Harrison Smith. But while SS Jamarca Sanford has started the past two seasons, there could be an open competition at the spot. Kurt Coleman, Andrew Sendejo and Robert Blanton will be in the battle, but there could be room for one more.

SPECIALISTS

Level of need * Low

The Vikings drafted a kicker in 2012 and a punter in 2013, so don’t count on them making it three in a row. Blair Walsh is one of the NFL’s best young kickers and P Jeff Locke had a decent rookie year. And they are set at the returner spots with Patterson and Marcus Sherels.

MATT VENSEL

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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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 NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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