The Minnesota Vikings head into the offseason after a great 13-4 season came to a disappointing end. The defense was largely to blame for the early playoff exit, and we’ll discuss the needs on defense later, but the offense has some needs to be attended to as well. Broken down by position group, I'll rank each group from most to least important to address in the draft or free agency this offseason. I’ll also include some intriguing free agent or draft options that the team could go after to fill those needs.
Interior Offensive Line
With Garrett Bradbury set to hit the market and Ed Ingram not playing well this season, the Vikings sorely need a guard and a center. They’re also losing backup Austin Schlottmann, who did a solid job filling in for Bradbury. This should be the top priority for the Vikings, because if the line can’t hold up, the whole offense could crumble.
Draft Target - John Michael Schmitz
Interesting Free Agents - Justin Pugh, Ethan Pocic
Adam Thielen has fallen off the age cliff, and beyond JJ and KJ, there are a lot of unknowns. The Vikings would be wise to find another dominant receiver to complement Jefferson. They might look to the draft rather than free agency, as quality receivers can be expensive to sign.
Draft Targets - Quentin Johnston, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Xavier Hutchinson
Interesting Free Agents - JuJu Smith-Schuster, DJ Chark
Even if the Vikings end up trading Dalvin Cook and they don’t re-sign Alexander Mattison, they still have Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler on the roster. They both showed promise in the preseason, but are the Vikings comfortable going forward with these two as the primary backs? My guess is that the Vikings pick up another mid-round back and let the three of them battle it out for playing time.
Draft Targets - Mohamed Ibrahim, Tank Bigsby
Interesting Free Agents - Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, D’Onta Foreman
Though Kirk is under contract for 2023, and I think it’s likely he gets a one or two-year extension, The Vikings should still look for the quarterback of the future. Last year’s backup Nick Mullens is also a free agent, so they’ll need to get a backup, regardless of his future prospects.
Draft Targets - Anthony Richardson, Hendon Hooker, Tanner McKee
Interesting Free Agents - Teddy Bridgewater (please), Sam Darnold, Tyler Huntley
TJ Hockenson is a top-five pass-catching tight end, and he’s under contract through next season, with the Vikings likely to extend him. Beneath him, Irv Smith is going into free agency. It’d be nice to see the Vikings pick up another tight end to go along with Hock.
Draft target - Tucker Kraft
Interesting Free Agents - Marcedes Lewis, Maxx Williams, Kyle Rudolph
The Vikings are in a great situation here. Darrisaw and O’Neil are two of the best tackles in the league, and Blake Brandel and Oli Udoh are both solid depth pieces behind them. There are no worries here.
That’s my take on what positions the Vikings should look at in the upcoming months. What positions do you think they should look at? Who else would you target in the draft or free agency?