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Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Vikings

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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 solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback

 

Silva's Analysis

 

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

 

Silva's Analysis

 

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

 

Silva's Analysis

 

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 ( who is commonly mocked, so it seems unlikely), 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 (it is what stood out when going back to his 2013 games) 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 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 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, and that can be attributed to uncertainty behind the line of scrimmage and 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 need a second safety. The late rounder 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 Emmanuel, North Dakota State - The Vikings have displayed interest in Emmanuel. His role will likely be a special teamer and sub-package rusher or backup SAM linebacker to Anthony Barr.

Vikings Current Offensive Depth Chart

 

QB: Teddy Bridgewater

RB: Adrian Peterson

WR: Charles Johnson

WR: Mike Wallace

WR: Jarius Wright

TE: Kyle Rudolph

LT: Matt Kalil

LG: Joe Berger

C: John Sullivan

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

 

 

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .