Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Minnesota Vikings Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up


Ali Siddiqui
The Minnesota Vikings have a very talented roster, but could still use some improvement in a few areas. | Photo Credit: Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off an 11-5 season in which they won the NFC North, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. They have the talent to do some damage in 2016, but here are the positions that still have some question marks.

Safety

Harrison Smith has been one of the best safeties in the league since he was drafted in 2012, but he has not good safeties paired next to him (Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo). Before free agency began, coach Mike Zimmer talked about Smith and said he would be even better and would have more opportunities to be versatile if he had a good safety next to him.

The Vikings signed Michael Griffin this offseason. Griffin made it to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010, but has been on the decline the past few seasons. Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray was the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator from 2011-2013, so he is familiar with Griffin. He may be in for a good year though given he is back with Gray, has a great defensive coach in Zimmer and will be surrounded by plenty of playmakers on defense, but at age 31 he is clearly not the long-term answer.

Sendejo was re-signed to a four-deal, but is not the answer either. He is a good special teams player and brings depth, but is not starting material. If Griffin can even be a slight upgrade over him, it will be huge for a defense that was no.5 in points allowed.

The Vikings used their final draft choice on Clemson safety Jayron Kearse. He may contribute on special teams this season, but is not expected to lineup much, if at all, at safety.

Offensive line

The Vikings offensive line has been their weakest link the past two seasons. They made good moves during free agency by signing guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith. Both should make the unit better, but is the line going to like down the road. Smith was signed to a one year. Phil Loadholt missed all of last season due to an Achilles injury and is only re-signed for this season. Tackle Matt Kalil is also in the last year of his rookie contract and has slipped since his Pro Bowl rookie year in 2012. At center, John Sullivan is back after missing all of last season due to back injuries, but will be 31 year old when the season begins. Last season’s starter Joe Berger will be 34 this season.

Western Michigan’s Willie Beavers was drafted in the fourth round (121st overall) by Vikings. He played left tackle in college, but could be moved to guard. With Boone penciled in at left guard and either Mike Harris or Brandon Fusco on the right side, Beavers could be a candidate for the practice squad.

Punter

Jeff Locke has been the team’s punter since 2013, but that could very well change. The Vikings brought undrafted punters Taylor Symmank (Texas Tech) and Nick O’Toole (West Virginia) to rookie minicamp last week. If Locke is brought back, he should at the very least get some competition, which looks like will be the case.

The Vikings were dead last in 2015 with a 41.6 yard per punt average and 29th in net punting with an average of 39.3. They have not fared any better than 20th in either category since Locke’s arrival.

Football is a game of inches, so even having the opponents’ starting field position go back even two or three yards would be beneficial, especially for a team that has a very good defense like the Vikings.

For more from Ali, follow him on Twitter @asiddiqui15. For more Vikings news and updates, follow @spot_vikings.


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



User Feedback


All in all, the Vikings look like they're in pretty good shape. If these three needs are the most glaring needs (which I agree they are), then there isn't too much for Vikings fans to worry about

Sent from my iPhone using SPOT mobile app

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed. The wr's a bit of a question mark too, but I think they'll be enough if the line does better (how much better remains to be seen).

 

The D should be top 5. If Griffin can even be close to what he was 5 years ago, it'll be huge. Along with a better punter.

Gotta stay healthy though, which is never easy in the NFL.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not here to talk smack, but I think that Vikings OL has definitely got to improve in order to keep Teddy Bridgewater effective. He doesn't IMO have great pocket awareness/movement to the point that he can make a lot of pass rushers miss play after play; he's going to need to be kept clean in order to really take advantage of the weapons Minnesota is putting around him.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

He can run from defenders with his mobility, but yes the line needs to do better and it will with the additions of Boone, Smith and Sparano. How much better is the question

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now



Draft Coverage