The Minnesota Vikings finished the season a very respectable 10-6. In a lot of scenarios that would win you your division and give you a guaranteed playoff birth, but not when the Green Bay Packers are in your division. The Vikings know to get to the next level they are going to have to knock the Packers off the throne, something they are certainly capable of doing. Head coach Leslie Frazier is entering his 3rd season and general manager Rick Spielman was promoted in January 2012. While both may seem relatively new to their respective jobs, they are no rookies. Spielman has been an executive in NFL office for over 23 years and almost everyone has heard the name Leslie Frazier before. They enter the 2013 draft not having big holes to fill, but have key improvements to make.
The team made a huge improvement at the wide receiver position when it added Greg Jennings to the roster. He is a big-time player who is capable of making plays from everywhere on the field. After Percy Harvin was lost to injury last year the team knew it needed to do something to upgrade the spot, but the thing is, they may not be done yet. Jarius Wright is a player who may be able to produce out of the slot, but they can't afford to speculate. The NFL is rapidly moving to a passing league and the Vikings need to have three capable wideouts to take advantage.
Last season the Vikings used one of their first round selections on Harrison Smith, a free safety out of Notre Dame. They expected him to be able to make a contribution immediately, but almost everyone was surprised with the amount of contribution he made. The team ranked only 24th overall in pass defense last season and getting someone else to start at strong safety opposite Smith would go a long way towards improving that number.
Last season the team started Jasper Brinkley in the middle and Erin Henderson and Chad Greenway on the outside. The unit was solid, but suffered greatly when they switched to a nickel package. The problem is the Brinkley (and Henderson) are unable to adequately drop into coverage. Some would argue that younger players could step in to the middle spot and be able to produce if an upgrade happens on the defensive line. While that may be true, it doesn't fix a problem, it only hides it a little better. When you face Aaron Rodgers, jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford a combined 6 times a year, you can't afford to "hide" breakdowns in your pass coverage, those guys will find the holes, they are some of the best in the world at doing it. The team definitely has needs that are more urgent than this one, so they should not reach to fill it.
This need is a little different from most. The current starter, Christian Ponder, may very well turn into a decent starting QB. In the beginning of the season, and at the end, he played at an acceptable level. However, during the middle of the year he was horrible. This draft isn't being viewed as talent heavy in the quarterback position, but if the right opportunity presents itself, you never know.
The Vikings are a run first offense, when you have a player like Adrian Peterson how could you be anything else. But the team knows that it needs to put Christian Ponder in a position to succeed. With the 23rd overall pick in the draft they would be very happy to get a player like Robert Woods. He is a prototypical WR at 6-1, 190 lbs out of USC. He is a solid player and a very gifted athlete. Has the ability to explode off of the line and eat up any cushion the defense thought it was giving him. He is willing and able to fight for the ball and doesn't mind going over the middle. He is a hard worker both in the weight and film room. One thing coaches love about him is his character. He's accountable and handles his business both on and off the field. He isn't fully ready to go yet, he still needs to add some polish to his game. After a year or two in the league, and learning behind a guy like Greg Jennings, Woods will likely look like a very solid number 2, maybe number 1, receiver in the NFL.