Having watched every game in the 2013 season, I have my idea on where the Vikings need to upgrade.
I think everyone knows this is the most obvious position that needs to improve. Christian Ponder will either be released or stay on as our #3 QB. Matt Cassell (Free agent) has the ability to be a starter, but his inconsistent play makes him a viable #2. This leaves us with the million dollar question, who will be the Vikings starter next season? I have heard rumors naming current starters like Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, and Redskins backup Kirk Cousins. Of these two, I like the thought of Cousins coming in and competing for the #1 spot. But, I prefer the idea of drafting a possible starter and developing him. I would love to see us in the same position as New England is in with Tom Brady starting for them for the past 10+ years. It’s been proven that stability at quarterback is very important. I didn’t mention Josh Freeman because he is not going to be here next year. It depends on what free agents we sign, but I can see Minnesota drafting 2 QB’s or grabbing a free agent and drafting one.
With a returning healthy Adrain Peterson, the Vikings are the envy of many teams. What I am concerned about is losing our #2 Toby Gerhart (Free agent). While AP has been able to play hurt, it’s when he is hurt,it shows that having a quality backup is needed. Matt Asiata did a great job filling in when both AP and Gerhart were sidelined, but I am not sure he will be as good as Toby on 3rd down. If we lose Toby, the Vikings will have to draft two running backs. AP needs Jerome Felton leading the way out of the back field. Also, don’t forget about Zack Line (IR).
Vikings fans had little to be excited about this year. Well, except for Cordarrelle Patterson’s play in the last half of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I am not diminishing the impact that Greg Jennings has made in his first season as a Viking as well as how well Jarius Wright played down the stretch. I would also like to see what a healthy Greg Childs could do if he can play a whole season. Lets not forget Jerome Simpson (Free agent). I think wide receiver is one of the Vikings strong points. Other notables: Joe Webb (Free agent) could have a hard time making the cut in 2014.
This is another strong position for the Vikings. Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford all had playing time in 2014 and looked good when thrown to. That is something I would like to see is more throws to our Tight Ends. No need to look for help here.
Many fans would say that the Vikings Offensive Line was just that, offensive! I think that the fact that Karl Dunbar left for the Jets has a lot to do with that. Now that he is gone, we see how important a strong coaching staff is. While we do have some solid starters, namely John Sullivan, Matt Kalil and Brandon Fusco, I am not sold on the abilities of Phil Loadholt and Charlie Johnson (Free agent). Many holes were exposed in our O-Line this past year and hopefully our new head coach will address the need for a decent O-Line coach. I can see the Vikings maybe adding a lineman or two through free agency or the draft. Other notables: Mike Remmers, J’Marcus Webb (Free agent) and Jeff Baca.
No comment! We have two really good kickers, enough said.
#Bengals DC Mike Zimmer will fly to Minnesota on Monday to meet with Vikings ownership in a 2nd round interview that’ll be on Tuesday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 12, 2014
The Vikings have some work ahead of them in this area. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are free agents and I don’t see either of them returning. The only way they would return is if they decide to take a pay cut. I’m not sure either would do that, although Jared Allen has expressed a desire to stay in Minnesota. I would like to see both stay, because both can still play. Brian Robison (one of my favorites) is good at left end and Sharrif Floyd looks like he could be in line to take over William’s spot should he leave. The thing I don’t understand is why Everson Griffen (Free agent) doesn’t get more playing time? I think if we lose one or both Allen and Williams, they will have to draft at least one lineman. Other notables: Chase Baker, Fred Evens (personally a huge disappointment) and Letroy Guion could be on the outside looking in. Vikings will draft 2 D-Linemen.
If Desmond Bishop (Free agent) can come to training camp healthy, the Vikings should be pretty sturdy at Linebacker. As mentioned in my previous article, Minnesota needs to part ways with Erin Henderson, not only for his off field mistakes but also for he poor play on the field. Audie Cole seems to be developing nicely, not to mention Chad Greenway, who is always steady. Throw in the mix, young talent drafted last year Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, Minnesota could be set at Linebacker for years to come. Other notables: Marvin Mitchell (Free agent) and Larry Dean (Free agent) could have a hard time making the roster next year if still around. Look for the Vikings to grab at least 1 Linebacker.
We got to see, what could be, one of Minnesota’s first true shut down corners. Xavier Rhodes played man coverage as well as anyone in the league, when healthy. Shawn Prater played well down the stretch. Harrison Smith is proving to be one of the better Safeties in the league. Marcus Sherels is our punt returner and back up DB so he will return (No pun intended). Josh Robinson (IR) shows some signs that he could be a starter, but still needs work. Chris Cook will either be released, or traded. I don’t see many teams being too interested in Cook so he will , or should be released. Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo have shared time at Safety. They both have ability and could still compliment Smith on the other side. Look for the Vikings to draft 2 corners.
Overall, I feel our biggest issue is coaching. This is being addressed. In Fraziers tenure, I rarely noticed the proper halftime adjustments that you see with good teams. That blame falls on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Not to mention the many times Bill Musgrave would run the same play back to back and display his total lack of creativity. Ultimately, the quarterback issue needs the most attention. Draft someone that can develop quickly and maybe start during the season, when is depending on what their record is.