Another year gone and another typical MN heartache.
It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. From unbelievable miracle-type belief to the catastrophic embarrassment of another NFC Championship heartache loss. I’m sure we’ve all been conditioned and are educated on the unrelenting pain and forgiving nature it takes to be a true Viking’s fan. Not only do we expect to be disappointed; but, in some capacity, we’ve learned to embrace it and turn the other cheek. Well, it’s time to refocus that belief as we look forward to how we can make this team better in 2018-19.
Luckily, the new year begins right away, with no delay. Not only are trades being made already but, the NFL combine is fast approaching. This leaves me thinking about the biggest positions of need for our Vikings. Which team upgrades would benefit the team the most?
Historically, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the risk-taking Rick Spielman has displayed — making trades to move up in the draft, taking chances (some bad), and a willingness to make moves after key injuries, to re-instill hope in the team and fan base. But, don’t get it mistaken, he’s had his share of head-scratchers as well. But, that’s impossible to avoid. I know one thing: I trust our front office and that’s one thing I haven’t had in decades prior. They do whatever it takes to compete at a high level and be successful. That hasn’t always been a given around this town.
The NFL combine is fast approaching and there are plenty of DEPTH holes that need upgrades. But the key word is DEPTH. We have a very young nucleus and all, but a few spots, are under contract for next year. That’s a VERY nice thing to have, and another testament to Spielman’s solid tenure. Not to mention upwards of 50 million dollars in cap space. Of course, the quarterback position could take half of that money away very quickly (depending on which route they go) but we are still in a very nice situation to repeat success. #1 defense, improved OL, and a great running-game returning (including Dalvin Cook).
We know how Brandon and Eric feel about spending large amounts of money on any of the QB’s available this offseason:
Ok, enough kneeling at the feet of Rick Spielman. Let’s talk about the positional upgrades we need in the upcoming NFL draft to help build towards a potential trip to Atlanta.:
Ok, this will probably have a short-term solution (unless we splurge on Cousins) before the draft, but it still remains the #1 need (seems to never change). Whether it’s Teddy via Toll Rule/”prove it” type deal, a franchise tag/extension for Case Keenum, an unexpected trade, or a top-dollar free agent, this is the UNDISPUTED #1 need. Personally, I would do a prove it deal with Teddy and take a shot that he still has it. It allows us to sign long-term contracts to guys like Barr, Hunter, Kendricks, Waynes, and Diggs. It also allows for a really serious look at this DEEP quarterback draft class, with the opportunity to develop your future franchise QB while still building for the future with respectable, doable, contracts until “that guy” hopefully emerges. This is no disrespect to Keenum or Cousins. I just like the flexibility of this route.
This has been a weak spot for Spielman in past drafts. Of course, Rhodes is an exception to the rule and Waynes has shown promise lately. However, Trae Waynes has under-produced to his draft status, McKenzie Alexander has been underwhelming, and the old-man crutch that is Terrence Newman better be done now that he is 67 years-old (or not).
Zimmer and Spielman like gifted athletes, and although that can be very beneficial, some gifted athletes just don’t know how to cover. This makes me a little nervous to ask for another CB (we could’ve had Peters). But, we need one and I hope he can get it right. I mean why not have both sides of the road closed permanently, if we can? This is one of our biggest needs for success going forward. With the love Coach Zimmer has for cornerbacks, it’s a given he looks to improve this position and I’d expect it early in this year’s draft, especially if he doesn’t asses it in Free Agency.
OL still sits at number 3 on my list even though it has improved from years prior and even overachieved our expectations in 2017. This is one area that seems to be predictable with Spielman. Usually, we stay away from OL in the early rounds of the draft. I don’t blame him one bit, here. You can find VERY nice offensive lineman in the third+ rounds. Plus, look what happened the last time we went big on an early O-lineman…
It’d be nice to find an offensive guard, we may very well need, in the mid-rounds. Of course, this is another position that can be fixed in free agency before the draft, but those usually come with a hefty price tag, and you can never have enough good offensive lineman to keep the train rolling. Especially, with previous injuries in that area, not to mention the toll it takes on the body, playing OL in the NFL.
When I say defensive line, I’m more-so talking defensive tackle with question marks surrounding Sharrif Floyd along with pending free agent Tom Johnson. But, with Brian Robison possibly retiring, we could use depth at both DT and DE. Like OL, the trenches take a toll on a man’s body. And, added depth is the answer for that. Also, Spielman loves to pick athletic specimen for his D-line and I totally trust his judgement in this area.
Yes, this is one area I start to question Rick Spielman. His best drafted wide receiver was Stefon Diggs in the fifth round and it was a great pick. However, his two reaches at WR in the first round (Patterson and Treadwell) have underwhelmed and disappointed. Either he’s getting bad information, or he needs to reevaluate his scouting in this area. We all love good defense with a great running game but we don’t want to fall back into the one-dimensional AP days. We have a great one-two punch with Thielen and Diggs. But after that, it gets shaky. And God forbid one of them gets injured. Let’s find a solution to this so the one-two punch turns into a fearsome threesome. And preferably a big bodied, over the top, scary M-fer.
- Honorable mention – Safety:
I’m not going to go much into detail here; just that this area is also on my mind. It would be nice to find another scary freak to go along Harry The Hitman. Sendejo is fine, but just not the answer.
Minnesota Sports Fan