With the initial craziness of free agency having died down, and with the 2013 National Football League Draft just a month away, it's time to take a look at what needs the Minnesota Vikings still have. There are still plenty of needs to be addressed, but this is the Vikings' current list of needs as I see them.
1) Middle linebacker - While former starter Jasper Brinkley was never going to be confused with Mike Singletary or anything like that, at least he was a serviceable starter in the middle of Minnesota's 4-3 defense. As it stands right now, it doesn't appear that there's a legitimate starting middle linebacker on the Vikings' current roster. (I now await the cries of AUDIE COLE. . .who played exactly one snap on defense as a rookie. . .to come from the crowd.) The Vikings' biggest need right now, in my opinion, is a guy that can take over in the middle of the defense. . .and, in a perfect world, could stay on the field with Chad Greenway in nickel situations.
2) Cornerback - The team is, apparently, still discussing a comeback with Antoine Winfield. Unless and until that happens, however, there's a pretty sizeable hole to be filled at the cornerback spot. Behind Chris Cook (who has more games missed than games played in his career), the cornerback depth chart for Minnesota consists of Josh Robinson, A.J. Jefferson, and Brandon Burton. I don't like the sound of that, and you shouldn't either. Robinson is probably best suited to be a slot cornerback, so the Vikings need a bigger guy that can line up regularly on the outside.
3) Wide receiver - Greg Jennings was a nice start. He's not a cure-all. The Vikings still need someone that can stretch the field and pull the safeties out of the box for the Minnesota offense. The Vikings' re-signed Jerome Simpson to another one year "prove it" contract (after he didn't prove a damn thing with his previous deal). It wouldn't be surprising to see the Vikings address this with two of their first six picks in the upcoming draft, and if you've been reading our Mock Draft Database, the expectation is that one of the Vikings' two first-round picks will go to the position.
4) Defensive tackle - Kevin Williams is in the final year of his contract, and appears to be going into a decline. Fred Evans has looked good in limited snaps, Letroy Guion has never really gotten it together the way the team had hoped, and Christian Ballard has been pretty inconsistent as well. The Vikings are pretty well off at defensive end, but they really need an upgrade in the middle of the defensive line. Fortunately, the defensive tackle position appears to be one of the deepest in this year's draft (along with wide receiver), so the Vikings will probably address that early as well.
5) Guard - Minnesota's offensive line is very well-off at the tackle spots with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, and might sport the best center in the NFL in John Sullivan. In between, however, guards Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco had their struggles last season. The Vikings might want to give a guy like DeMarcus Love a shot at one of those spots, but he's been injured and hasn't actually seen the field in his first two NFL seasons. Guards are generally a position that can be had later on in the draft, and there are still a couple of guys that could potentially make a difference still available in free agency if the Vikings wanted to go that route. (The Vikings did sign former Indianapolis Colts' guard Seth Olsen, but I'm not sure if he's viewed as much of an answer.)
That's the way I see it at the present time. What do you folks think is Minnesota's biggest need as of today?