Though the Vikings sport one of the top all around rosters in the league, there are still some holes to fill. With the combine taking place and free agency approaching, the Full Press Vikings staff made their picks for who would make the best additions to the purple and gold.
Who is your first choice for the Vikings to sign in free agency?
Anthony Talanca: Andrew Norwell. He is the most dominant free agent on the market and plays a position of need. Although it would allocate a ton of money on the offensive line, Norwell is an All-Pro and would turn the Vikings into an elite offensive line group.
Sam Smith: Jack Mewhort brings upside with a moderate price tag. As long as he stays healthy, he would shore up the interior of the offensive line while also leaving wiggle room to either break the bank on a star or re-sign more of their role players next offseason. Of course, his health is a big if. But the relatively modest cost for him makes the risk worth it.
What are the Vikings biggest needs to fill in the draft?
Talanca: Biggest draft needs are guard, defensive tackle and corner in that order.
Pearson: The Vikings biggest need for the draft is the offensive line. I want to see them draft at least three or four linemen this year. Starters, depth guys, does not matter. They need more.
Brooks: Heading into the draft, the two biggest needs I see for the Vikings are interior offensive line and defensive tackle, specifically the 3-technique. I would expect them to address both spots within their first three selections.
Smith: Interior line on both sides of the ball and nickel corner would be the needs to fill. But I also think they should seriously look at bolstering their pass rush and receiver depth. They are thin in those areas outside of the starters.
Who do you project they select with first round pick?
Talanca: Minnesota is in a spot where they can afford to take the best player available at pick 30. However with offensive line being the biggest need, Billy Price and Isaiah Wynn are two names to consider. At defensive tackle, Maurice Hurst would also be a great pick if he’s available.
Pearson: With their first round pick, I fully expect them to draft a lineman. Namely, either tackle Connor Williams or Price. If the linemen fall like Pat Elflein did last year, maybe Minnesota decides to trade that first pick away for more picks. Or maybe they roll the dice, shock the world, and draft Lamar Jackson. Any of those options would be great.
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Brooks: I think they will end up trading out of the first round this spring. At 30, the Vikings are in good position to trade back as a team picking early in the second could want to move up into the first. Plus, the Vikings may be looking to get a fourth rounder back. If Price is still sitting there, he would be a steal.
Smith: First choice would be if one of the two defensive tackle studs, Da’Ron Payne or Vita Vea, falls to them. If not, I am highest on guard Will Hernandez out of UTEP. He projects to anchor an offensive line for years with All-Pro upside both as a pass protector and run game mauler. Hurst would be the next best option at defensive tackle should they go that route.
What are your predictions for the QB situation?
Talanca: The quarterback situation opinion seems to change daily, but right now I would say Teddy Bridgewater as the starter with Josh McCown signed as the backup. Kirk Cousins is of course the wildcard in all of this, though.
Pearson: As much as I love the Cousins idea, the Vikings are not going to outbid themselves. He will wind up in New York with the Jets. At the helm for Minnesota will be Bridgewater. I expect him to be the starter heading into the season with either Case Keenum or another veteran.
Brooks: I would love for Minnesota to re-sign Bridgewater, but signs seem to be point towards the Vikings bringing in Cousins. This team is set to win now and Cousins is the best quarterback on the market (that we know will be with a new team in 2018). The Vikings are the lone team with both a championship contending roster and the cap space to accommodate the kind of contract Cousins is likely to command. Their two likeliest competitors for his services, the Jets and Broncos, offer one or the other but not both. Those circumstances could be what could ultimately make the Vikings the favorite to land Cousins.
Smith: In just the past few days, I have vacillated between Cousins going to the Jets and the Vikings about 40 different times. Right now, I am leaning towards the Jets with the Vikings resorting to their contingency plan. That is, letting Bridgewater find out his market is pretty dry and bringing him in on a one-year deal with either Keenum or McCown as his backup. I also assume the Vikings draft a quarterback at some point this year.
– Anthony Talanca writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @atalanca.
– Adam Pearson writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @APwrites3.
– Clayton Brooks writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @ClaytonRBrooks2.
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