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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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
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Tennessee
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Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
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Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 4th Qtr 0:15
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
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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 Noon

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