With the regular season officially halfway complete (crazy!) and the Vikings on the baby-bye, now's a great time to talk about the next crop of players that will be brought in. I can respect it if you want some names to go with the most needy positions but the college season is months from being completed so any specifics that I go with would almost certainly be wrong come April, but the positions may prove to be spot on. Also, for the time being I'm excluding compensatory picks because it would be a dart throw with at best a 50/50 chance of accuracy. So the Purple will have more picks than what's listed here but the number and the rounds they're in would be a blind guess. Likewise, I'm not going to speculate on any of the inevitable wheeling & dealing that the front office will engage in during the three days of drafting. So, all that said, let's get on with it, yeah?!
A few weeks into the season I was an ardent endorser of the idea that the Vikings needed to go quarterback with the first pick in April. With eight games to go, that may be the position that is ended on but with the surge in production that Kirk has had over the last four weeks I've loosened my grip on that opinion. With Brian O'Neill & Garrett Bradbury as the two cornerstone members and Pat Elfington still a possibility for years to come, 3/5 of the starting line is young & good. On top of them are Dru Samia, Oli Udoh & Rashod Hill. That's a group of six that may lead to the best offensive line in Minnesota in WAY too long. But why stop there? With one more year of Cousins (& possibly more) keep swinging to make it Dallas of the mid-2010's level great. Final answer for now - offensive line.
But even with this new-found #8, it shouldn't be overlooked that the most important position in sports has had a revolving door of semi-veteran, average players holding the tablet over the last few seasons. On top of that, the front office has seemingly gotten gun-shy about selecting players at the position in recent years. I stumped for them to pick one in the fifth round last time around but no such luck, instead they brought in Jake Browning. He was a good player at Washington but has backup written all over his future in the NFL. That's nice and all but I want them to do more than settle for that.
The identity of the Purple has been and will continue to be it's defense so I'd put the chance of the top three picks being used on offense again this year around 5%. Especially when there is a growing need for more cornerback help. Trae Waynes is proving that he may be deserving of an extension but none has happened to date. Likewise with Mackensie Alexander while Mike Hughes has shown flashes and is under team control for years to come. Beyond them, there's a lot to be desired which makes it a fairly easy choice.
I would welcome another addition to the offensive front here but think that going with a linebacker could be just as likely. Barr has lived up to the extension so far this year and Kendricks is playing like an all-pro but behind those two are solid but not especially special players.
If not a linebacker then I would say that defensive-end could be addressed, depending on the employment status of Everson Griffen.
With Thielen, Diggs & and an ascending Olabisi Johnson the Purple have a good trio. It may get even better when Beebe gets back but four is still a low number. With the proven ability to unearth deep draft receivers, the position should get addressed again this time.
(acquired from Miami Dolphins in exchange for Danny Isidora)
The team is solid at the safety position but why not swing for the fences in hopes of finding another Anthony Harris or Jayron Kearse?
If everything works out, all the set selections will be late in every round. There are a lot of things that will happen before earnest attention should be given to the draft but a 20,000-foot look at how things may play out based on the first-half's results is what Vikings free Sundays are useful for.
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