This is probably absurdly early to even begin this type of discussion, but let's face it. This is a lost season, and with the remaining 7 games left, they need to be in scouting mode for the future. The coaches should be trying to figure out who to bring back, who's too expensive, and who to trade/cut. And with that in mind, here is what I hope the Vikings do with their depth chart when the 2012 season finally rolls around.
QB: Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, [Rd. 6/7 Draft Pick or Free Agent]
RB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhardt, Lorenzo Booker
FB: Ryan D'Imperio
WR: [Free Agent], Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton/Emanuel Arcenaux
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe, Kyle Rudolph, Jim Kleinsasser
LT: [Rd 1 Draft Pick], Brown/Love
LG: Steve Hutchinson, DeMarcus Love
C: John Sullivan, Joe Berger
RG: Charlie Johnson, Brandon Fusco/Chris DeGeare
RT: Phil Loadholt, [Rd 3 Draft Pick]
Analysis: Our biggest need on offense is our offensive line, and so help me god if we don't draft a left tackle in the first round, I'm going to lose it. There are plenty of high profile wide receivers on the free agent market next year, and we'd be stupid not to go after one of them. We should pick up some additional assurance at the tackle position in rd 3, either as Loadholt's backup, or as additional help along the line. It would be wise to draft a late round, project-type QB behind Joe Webb as well.
LDE: Brian Robison, D’Aundre Reed
NT: [Free Agent], Christian Ballard, [Rd. 4 Draft Pick]
DT: Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion
RDE: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen
SLB: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean/Rd. 6/7 Draft Pick
MLB: E.J. Henderson, Jasper Brinkley
WLB: Erin Henderson, [Free Agent/Rd. 6/7 Draft Pick]
LCB: [Free Agent], Marcus Sherels
RCB: [Rd 2 Draft Pick], Cedric Griffen, Brandon Burton
SS: [Free Agent/Rd. 5 Draft Pick], Jamarca Sanford
FS: Husain Abdullah, Mistral Raymond, [Rd. 6/7 Draft pick]
Analysis: Boy do we have a lot of needs on defense. There are actually quite a few high profile CB available next year, and along with a WR, we should pick one of them up. We can also address our CB situation with a high, rd 2 pick. Shoring up our safety position with a mid-round pick or free agent would be wise as well. Our Nose Tackle position is noticeably weak, and unless we think Christian Ballard is the answer, we might consider picking up a free agent or drafting a mid-round DT as well. Some late-round LB depth is a great idea too.
2012 Free Agents by Position:
Wide Receiver: DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Steve Johnson, Marques Colston
Defensive Tackle: Paul Soliai, Aubrayo Franklin
CB: Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, Tracy Porter, Rashean Mathis
SS: LaRon Landry, Michael Griffin
This depth chart has us filling 2 starting spots on offense, and 4 starting spots on defense with either free agents or high round draft picks. If we can get lucky with our first 3 draft picks, or maybe even trade down to acquire a couple of first round picks, we have a chance to stock up the roster. By cutting high salary veterans (McNabb and Winfield) we'll free up some cap space to go after some high profile free agents at WR and/or CB. We have a lot of holes on this team, and our depth is shaky at best. At this point in the season, our depth is really showing, especially in the secondary. Let's hope the front office sees the obvious stuff that we all see and makes smart moves to address the roster next year.