Minnesota has the twenty-fifth pick in the draft, courtesy of their second round appearance in the playoffs. There are some changes this year, with Stefon Diggs being traded the biggest. They will have a new set of cornerbacks and a few other changes, as they renew their quest for another playoff appearance and beyond.
The Vikings have twelve picks in the draft: two firsts, a second, two thirds, a fourth, fifth, two sixths, and three sevenths. The extra pick in the first, fifth, and sixth is for Stefon Diggs, while their other extra picks are compensatory.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Wide Receiver: The trade of Stefon Diggs leaves one half of a good receiving duo behind in Adam Thielen. In competition for the second spot are Olabisi Johnson and Tajae Sharpe, a free agent signing from the Titans. Other receivers include Chad Beebe and Alexander Hollins. Laquon Treadwell left in free agency. There is a need for a wide receiver – probably two and the first two rounds may be where this is addressed.
Offensive Line: The tackles are in good shape with Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill. At center is first-round draft pick Garrett Bradbury, while Pat Elflein holds down one guard post. The other guard is unsettled after Josh Kline was released. Dru Samia, last year’s fourth rounder may be the most likely. Interior backups are Brett Jones and Dakota Dozier, while Aviante Collins, Olisaemeka Udoh, and Rashod Hill are tackles. A guard is needed, along with some depth.
Defensive Line: Personnel has turnover here with end Everson Griffen and tackle Linval Joseph being cap casualties. Danielle Hunter returns at one end with Ifeadi Odenigbo the frontrunner opposite him after having 7 sacks. Others in the mix are free agent signing Anthony Zettel plus Eddie Yarbrough. Tackle has Shamar Stephen as a holdover and Michael Pierce signed from Baltimore. In reserve are Jaleel Johnson, Jalyn Holmes, Armon Watts, and Hercules Mata’afa. Another pass rusher can be taken, along with the right tackle.
Cornerback: There will be a new look at cornerback after the exit of Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander to the Bengals in free agency and the release of Xavier Rhodes as a cap casualty. Mike Hughes will be one corner and Holton Hill has a chance to be the other. Kris Boyd is among those also on the roster. Marcus Sherels is unsigned. One, maybe two cornerbacks will be chosen – one possibly in the first round.
Safety: The Vikings have a good pair in Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. However, there is literally nobody behind them. Andrew Sendejo (Cleveland) and Jayron Kearse (Detroit) are no longer on the team. Backups will need to be acquired, either through free agency or the draft – possibly both.
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins had a good year; a good player, but not one of the best. Backing him up are Sean Mannion and Jake Browning. Picking a quarterback somewhere may be a good idea.
Running Back: They have one of the better running backs in Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison does a good job of spelling him. After that, they can turn to Ameer Abdullah and Michael Boone. When a fullback is used, CJ Ham comes in. A late pick could be used here.
Tight End: There is quality and quantity here. Kyle Rudolph makes big catches and second-round pick Irv Smith Jr also contributed. Injuries forced David Morgan to miss much of the season. Tyler Conklin is also on the roster. A pick here will be for depth purposes.
Linebacker: In the middle, Eric Kendricks was first-team All-Pro. Flanking him on one side is Anthony Barr, while Ben Gedeon was injured for part of the season and ably replaced by Eric Wilson. Also on the roster are Cameron Smith and DeMarquis Gates with Kentrell Brothers being unsigned. This is another place where they may pick for depth.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.