First order of business: Re-sign Everson Griffen, If Griffen is not re-signed then DE becomes a major priority, and another major priority is something we do not need. I think it would be wrong of Griffen to not return to the Vikings because he would more than likely finally get his starting spot, and we now have one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL.
I’m also in favor of releasing Jamarca Sanford, and Restructuring Chad Greenways contract (not extending, just a pay cut)
Free Agent Pick-ups:
Matt Cassel: I think Cassel’s best option is to return to Minnesota and compete for a starting job with whatever rookie QB we bring in, I don’t see him getting a starting spot anywhere else and getting starter money.
Alterraun Verner: Solid Corner that had a breakout year this past season, made the pro-bowl. The guys over at Music City Miracles (Tennessee Titans SB nation site) really REALLY want Verner back. I think the fact that the Titans previous Defensive Coordinator is now our Defensive Backs coach gives us leverage in possibly landing Verner, because he will have some familiarity here.
Donald Brown: Brown was obviously a little offended that the Colts brought in Trent Richardson this past season and decided to perform out of his head. I think he will want out of Indianapolis, and would be a very good pick up for the Vikings. Norv Turner has already said that he plans on getting Adrian Peterson more involved in the passing game, and Brown is a very good pass catcher out of the backfield.
Pat Sims: Has worked with Zimmer before, and may not be a 3 down player, but he is a run stuffer and would be a valued pick up for this defense that is in rebuild mode.
Draft: Rick Spielman has come out to the media saying that his goal is to get 10 picks, and as of now we have 8. Now Rick Spielman is not the easiest person to understand and is very good at manipulating his words to confuse the media (and Vikings fans) so he could be saying that just to throw people off. There is also a lot of time from now to the draft, so a lot of things could change. But as of now, I do not see the Vikings trading up. I think the 7 picks in front of us will be a combination of Clowney, Bridgewater, Manziel, Jake Matthews, Barr, Bortles, and Watkins. Many people would want to take Khalil Mack, but I see Quarterback as our biggest need at this point and Carr is the only quarterback left available that I would trust to run this team. So with the 8th pick the Vikings trade back with the Miami Dolphins and receive the 19th overall pick and the Dolphins second rounder. This is a similar trade to the one the Dolphins made with the Raiders last year for Dion Jordan, this year they select Greg Robinson. From number 9 to number 19 I do not see one of those teams taking Derek Carr, possibly the Titans but I doubt that.
Round 1 Pick 19: Derek Carr, Quarterback, Fresno State
Carr is one of the top 4 quarterbacks in this draft and is viewed as a late first rounder, which means everyone has an opinion on him. I think Carr’s arm strength and accuracy are great attributes for a quarterback in Norv Turner’s offense. He’s big and is a great student of the game, I think he can be our QBOTF with some time spent behind Cassel.
Round 2 Pick 8: Shayne Skov, Linebacker, Stanford
I think Skov can be an instant starter in a depleted linebacker core. He has been a starter for years at Stanford and is a team leader. Great tackler and great in support with to wrap up ball carriers. He also has a wide range in coverage and times his blitzes well.
Round 2 Pick 18: Gabe Jackson, Guard, Mississippi State
Jackson’s size is monstrous at the guard position and would be a great acquisition and hopefully a plug and play starter in Norv Turners offense. He is a very good pass blocker, but he does not play to his size in the run game. He does not necessarily dominate in the run game like an offensive lineman of his size should, but he can clear holes for our runningbacks and is definitely an upgrade from Charlie Johnson.
Round 3 Pick 8: Deone Bucannon, Safety, Washington State
Personally, Bucannon is my favorite safety in the draft. I see him as the next Kam Chancellor, he has the size, speed and instincts to be that type of player. I do not think he is as good of a tackler, because he often launches himself at ball carriers without even attempting to wrap up. Because of that he gave up big runs against Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State. Plays like that are what will cause him to drop into the 3rd round, but he can be coached into better tackling.
Round 3 Pick 32: EJ Gaines, Cornerback, Missouri
Gaines is a very versatile coverage defensive back that can play all over the place. His run support skills and technique are also not bad. He had some key moments this season like a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the SEC championship game and an interception in their bowl game against Oklahoma State.
Round 4 Pick 8: Christian Kirksey, Linebacker, Iowa
The Vikings have had good history with Linebackers from Iowa, and this one could keep that going. Kirksey is a little undersized but has good speed. I think his stock will rise after the combine. He was a vital part of a very good linebacking core for the Hawkeyes for a couple years and had 110 tackles last year. Adds to our linebacker depth.
Round 5 Pick 8: Ryan Carrethers, Nose Tackle, Arkansas State
Small school defensive lineman that is rumored to be one of the strongest if not the strongest player who has declared for the draft. He has the size to be a starter in the NFL but he will have to work on his pad level. He has quickness off the ball and sometimes even speed to rush the passer. I think bringing him in to rotate snaps with Pat Sims is a very good idea. He sometimes can get pushed laterally down the line but very rarely is moved backwards.
Round 6 Pick 8: Josh Huff, Wide Reciever, Oregon
Dynamic playmaker that holds the record for receiving yards at Oregon University. He may not be here in the 6thround but a lot can change from here to the draft. Huff is a very good route runner with solid hands and YAC ability. Adds depth to the Wide receiver position.
Round 7 Pick 8: Rajion Neal, Runningback, Tennessee
May lack elite speed for a runningback, but runs angry and refuses to go down easily. The drop of importance at the runningback position might cause a good player like Neal to drop to us so late in the draft. I think Neal would be a good compliment to AP and Brown.