Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback
While RCB Xavier Rhodes is a budding star, the position opposite him needs a long-term solution. Captain Munnerlyn is a slot corner only, and LCB Terence Newman turns 37 before the season. Josh Robinson couldn't cut it in coach Mike Zimmer's scheme last year. Zimmer prefers his cornerbacks to have press-man capability, freeing up more aggressive front-seven play.
No. 2 Team Need: Linebacker
The outside positions are set after WLB Chad Greenway accepted a pay cut. His play has fallen off significantly in recent years, however, so it wouldn't be surprising if promising Gerald Hodges threatened Greenway's 2015 snaps. SLB Anthony Barr was outstanding as a rookie. Mike linebacker is the biggest question mark, though Zimmer's defenses have historically gotten away with two-down thumpers in the middle. The Vikings have flirted with Brandon Spikes -- who would be an ideal free agent pickup -- but will look to the draft if Spikes lands somewhere else.
No. 3 Team Need: Offensive line
I've seen wide receiver listed elsewhere as a Vikings need, but I don't agree. OC Norv Turner is very high on Charles Johnson at "X" receiver, and trade acquisition Mike Wallace is a great fit for the "Z" Alvin Harper role. Left guard has long been a trouble spot in Minnesota and is the most glaring weakness on the Vikings' current line. The team moved on from incumbent Charlie Johnson, leaving 33-year-old journeyman Joe Berger as the penciled-in starter. The Vikings also need to take a stab at an upside tackle. RT Phil Loadholt's contract is easy to part with following the 2015 season, and LT Matt Kalil took a huge step back last year. OC Norv Turner generally utilizes a power-based run game and has implemented a quicker, timing-based passing game to build around Teddy Bridgewater's strengths.
Norris’ Mock Draft:
Round 1 (11): CB Byron Jones, UConn - There are a number of prospects I could envision with this pick: Trae Waynes, Kevin Johnson and Randy Gregory (but at what position?). Byron Jones will be a first-round selection; the question is how early. He fits best in press situations and will enter the NFL as the best athletic tester at CB in the league. A shoulder injury ended Jones’ season early and teams will definitely pinpoint that piece of his evaluation.
Round 2 (45): LB Shaq Thompson, Washington - I doubt Thompson is available at pick No. 45. I do think Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer would be willing to move up slightly to secure Thompson’s services. If inserted in base packages, Thompson would likely play at weakside linebacker but his main role should be nickel backer. Zimmer seems to have a keen understanding of how to use talent appropriately.
Round 3 (76): G John Miller, Louisville - Due to Bobby Petrino’s strong/weak-side offense, Miller has experience at both guard spots. He is a personal favorite for his explosion and strength at the point of attack, but also has functional athleticism to stick with blocks. He can help a team early on.
Round 4 (110): RB David Johnson, Northern Iowa - Johnson put together one of the best Combine performances for a running back in the class. I can’t say I always see it in games, which can be attributed to uncertainty behind the line of scrimmage and a lack of natural vision. However, I am in love with Johnson’s passing-down ability. He is the best receiver of the group and is a natural adjusting to off-target passes and will make grabs away from his body.
Round 5 (137): S Cedric Thompson, Minnesota - The Vikings have spent time with Thompson during the process and they could use competition for SS Robert Blanton. A projected late-round pick, Thompson posted an exceptional workout and had plenty of production in college.
Round 7 (228): T Terry Poole, San Diego State - Poole has experience at both tackle spots and has received interest from the Eagles and Seahawks. He seems like a perfect late-round investment at the position.
Round 7 (232): EDGE/LB Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State - The Vikings have displayed interest in Emanuel. His role will likely be a special teamer and sub-package rusher or backup SAM linebacker to Anthony Barr.
Vikings Current Offensive Depth Chart
RB: Adrian Peterson
WR: Charles Johnson
WR: Mike Wallace
WR: Jarius Wright
TE: Kyle Rudolph
LT: Matt Kalil
LG: Joe Berger
RG: Brandon Fusco
RT: Phil Loadholt
Vikings Current Defensive Depth Chart
LE: Brian Robison
RE: Everson Griffen
DT: Sharrif Floyd
NT: Linval Joseph
MLB: Audie Cole
WLB: Chad Greenway
SLB: Anthony Barr
CB: Xavier Rhodes
CB: Terence Newman
FS: Harrison Smith
SS: Robert Blanton