The Minnesota Vikings need to have a great draft this year to put some talent on the field next season. I think there are several options the Vikings can use to improve their roster.
1. They must establish a deep vertical threat: The Vikings need a tall lanky wide receiver to help boost an average wide receiving core. Percy Harvin is not meant to be a vertical threat. If the Vikings receive the #2 pick it is an absolute easy decision to take Justin Blackmon. He reminds me of a great receiver like Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. He has great speed and great leaping ability. The Vikings cannot pass up a great athlete like Justin Blackmon. Many believed that the Vikings should have taken a quarterback over Adrian Peterson in 2007. The running back position wasn’t a huge need at the time, but the Vikings couldn’t pass up the talent. That decision has turned out quite well for the Vikings.
2. Must improve the offensive line: The Vikings have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. They need to pick up a large left tackle to replace Charlie Johnson. If the Vikings decide not to select Justin Blackmon, they must upgrade the offensive line by selecting USC offensive tackle Ryan Kalil. Christian Ponder needs to start receiving protection so he isn’t hurt every week. Kalil is one of the best players and in the draft and could be the center piece of the Vikings offensive line for a decade.
3. Trade the top draft pick: If the Vikings want to receive more talent they could trade the #2 or #3 pick to stockpile draft selections. They could then address the offensive line, and select several defensive backs. This would require the Vikings to sign a vertical threat receiver in free agency. A flashy name to watch is Vincent Jackson who could want out of San Diego.
4. Upgrade the worst secondary in team history: In later rounds, the Vikings need to take two cornerbacks who could make an immediate impact. The Vikings are getting shredded weekly by quarterbacks. Cedric Griffin is not stepping up and Antoine Winfield is coming off a broken clavicle. The Vikings have no depth at this position and need to establish some soon. Several options could be Jonathon Banks of Mississippi State, and Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina. If the Vikings don’t address this position in the draft they must sign several talented free agents.
5. Trim Cap Space: If the Vikings want to become younger they must free cap space to sign some talented players. Kevin Williams will need to take a significant pay cut or he will have to leave. Christian Ballard and Letroy Guion could step in and fill his role nicely if he isn’t willing to reach a sensible agreement. Steve Hutchinson is a free agent and doesn’t play as well as he did during his prime. If it comes down to a cap cutting decision, Steve Hutchinson could be on the way out.
Overall, the Vikings have many areas to fix and have a limited amount of cap space and time to get them resolved by the start of next season. Let the rebuilding mode begin!