The nerd in me loves him some roster and draft projections. Assuming the Vikes have the stellar year we are all hoping for -- including Ponder proving he belongs and some other younger players (e.g., Fusco, Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright) really coming into their own -- what are the positions of need next year? Notwithstanding a likely "best player available" approach to the draft, what positions would it appear most logical for the Vikes to select in the early rounds? My thoughts below:
(1) Nose Tackle -- With Fred Evans and Letroy Guion, we know what we got and there doesn't appear to be much more "upside" to these guys. They are relatively weak links on our defensive front. Adding a top notch NT to play alongside Floyd for years to come would be a wise move.
(2) Guard -- An immediate replacement for the aging and so-so Charlie Johnson should hopefully be found in the second round.
(3a)(from Seattle in Harvin trade) Safety -- Maybe Blanton and/or Raymond, if either or both make the team, step up and prove their worth. But I'm not banking on that. And while I love Jamarca Sanford's fire, there's a ceiling to him. So taking a solid safety to pair with Harrison Smith would seem a wise move. Good safety value seems to usually be available in the second-third rounds.
(3b) Running Back -- This pick might be controversial. However, while we all want to believe AP will be a stud for the next 5 years, the likelihood is that we'll be fortunate for him to stay at the top of his game for 2-3 more seasons. Toby is a fine back, but I just don't see him as being a feature back on any team and I think the Vikes let him walk at the end of this season and pick a back more capable of succeeding AP.
(4) Defensive End -- This pick presumes that we re-sign Everson Griffen and either Robison or Allen. That will give us 2 solid starting defensive ends -- hence no DE picked higher up in the draft. But Robison or Allen will be getting up there in years, and in any event some depth will be needed. Digest, contemplate, discuss.