All of us "Experts" will agree that the Vikings are broke and need fixing. What we won't agree on is the best way to fix them. If you are drinking the Purple Kool Aid, your answer will be a couple guys getting healthy, a couple back ups getting a chance to play and a good draft and the Vikings are back in the playoffs. If you are in the middle, they need the above and a couple free agents. But if you are a realist the Vikings have huge problems that are not going to go away. They have 7 players ( Peterson, Harvin, Ponder, Rudolph, Greenway, Robison and Allen that any team would love. And arguably two of the seven are the best at their positions in Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen. Then you have 5 players that are serviceable, but starting to show their age or are hurt, who may have 2 years left in them ( Winfield, Williams, Henderson, Shiancoe, and Hutchinson. Then 10 guys that would not be starters for most teams ( Erin Henderson, Johnson, Griffith, Remi, Abdullah, Johnson, Sullivan, Berger, Loadholt, Jenkins). The Vikings biggest problem in rebuilding isn't that they have no stars. The biggest problem is besides those stars the 10 other players are career back ups. And besides that, they are playing in a division with the best team in the NFL (Packers), one of the best up and coming teams (Lions) and one of the most underrated teams (Bears).
The league goes in cycles, so you are looking at 3 years of excellent Packer teams before they start loosing guys to free agency and injuries. Detroit is in a window where they could go up or down. But luckily in 3 years Chicago should be where we are now. Our division has to play into how they go about rebuilding. If we were in a bad division, then we could try and get 1 or 2 big free agents and try and win the division. But we are in arguably the best division.
So the fact that you can pencil in Green Bay for 3 years of excellence, and that the Bears will be rebuilding in 3 years, gives the Vikings alot of answers. That means if there are any players that have trade value that you do not expect to be contributing after 3 years or that will be on the down side of their careers should be traded to the highest bidder. In most cases that would be any player that is now 28 years or older. This is where the tough calls come in. That means trading your 2nd & 3rd best players in Jared Allen and Chad Greenway. They are awesome and 2 of my favorites. But in three years there is no predicting if they will have anything left and they are two players that we can demand and get 1st rounders for . Adrian Peterson is still young enough to make it through the rebuilding process. That is two or three high draft picks that will be 25 in 3 years compared to 2 players that will be 31 and 32 in 3 years. That also means saying goodbye to Hutchinson, WInfield, Kleinsasser, Williams, Shiancoe, and Henderson. We have three years to draft as many young players as we can, and they will need all of the playing time they can get.
Who do we draft. The league is a passing league and our 4 brightest players all play offensive skill positions (Ponder, Rudolph, Harvin, and Peterson). What we don't have is an offensive line to block for them. I know this is fantasy football here, but I then use my next 5 picks on the 5 best offensive lineman available and plug them in as starters and let them gel for 3 years. That would be 3 1st round OL and 2 2nd round OL (assuming we would get a 2nd rounder in the Allen trade). With the 2 3rd rounders ( 1 a compensatory pick) I would draft 2 wide receivers. With the rest of the draft i would take players to help the defense.
Free Agents - Knowing that your are under a 3 year plan, you would not sign any big free agents in year 1 or 2. In year 3 though, you would sign 2 to 3 big time free agents to fill out your roster.