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Mike Zimmer
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Vikings

by Evan Silva
Updated On: April 12, 2019, 4:15 am ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

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

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: RG Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen, C Brett Jones, OG Dakota Dozier.

Starting Offense

QB: Kirk Cousins
RB: Dalvin Cook
WR: Stefon Diggs
WR: Laquon Treadwell
SLWR: Adam Thielen
TE: Kyle Rudolph
LT: Riley Reiff
LG: Danny Isidora
C: Pat Elflein
RG: Josh Kline
RT: Brian O’Neill

Starting Defense

RE: Everson Griffen
LE: Danielle Hunter
NT:  Linval Joseph
3T: Jaleel Johnson
MLB: Eric Kendricks
WLB: Ben Gedeon
SLB: Anthony Barr
LCB: Trae Waynes
RCB: Xavier Rhodes
SCB: Mackensie Alexander
FS: Anthony Harris
SS: Harrison Smith

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Offensive Line: As every member of Minnesota’s 2018 line was a liability in pass protection, Cousins faced pressure at the NFL’s fifth-highest rate (39%). Cousins’ play tailed off down the stretch, averaging 6.64 yards per attempt with a 95.9 passer rating in the final seven weeks after averaging 7.40 YPA with a 102.2 rating in his first nine starts. C Elflein, RG Kline and RT O’Neill are the Vikings’ only locked-in starters at their respective positions. The team has considered moving Reiff to left guard if GM Rick Spielman can find a left tackle solution in the draft.

Pass Catcher: The Vikings essentially played 2018 with 10 men on offense because of Treadwell’s ineffectiveness. Not only did Treadwell finish 93rd among 96 qualified wideouts in yards per route run (0.82), he ranked No. 113 among 125 receivers in PFF’s run-blocking charts. With Rudolph’s passing-game usefulness diminishing, a tight end draft pick can’t be ruled out.

Pass Rusher: Running back and safety could also use young talent infusions, but Griffen’s uncertain future and the Vikings’ lack of pass-rushing depth renders front-seven help a bigger need.


Vikings 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (18). OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma - This is a difficult situation, because I believe Jonah Williams and Andre Dillard will be off the board. Would the Vikings select Ford, play him at right tackle, move O’Neill to left tackle and then Reiff inside? Or would Ford switch over to the left guard spot, as many view Ford at his best on the interior. The difficulty is knowing how a player responds to a position switch.

2 (50). TE Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M - A Vikings visit. Sternberger’s best early contribution will be as a receiver, which means he could pair well with Kyle Rudolph. There are multiple examples of Sternberger moving like a receiver in his routes, forcing a deep defensive back to guess and then breaking away for easy separation. Or he’s flashed winning contested.

3 (81). EDGE Ben Banogu, TCU - I’m merely attempting to will this into existence. Banogu is the type of athlete on the edge that the Vikings can make into an impact player. You already see moments of brilliance, but the Vikings boast one of the staffs that actually seem to develop players, and even turn weaknesses into strengths.

4 (120). WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor - The former running back convert looks so natural as a receiver. He’s smooth and fluid in his cuts to create separation and was used both in the slot and outside. It’s an added bonus that he’s very comfortable after the catch. You don’t find players moving like this at his size.

6 (190). S Andrew Wingard, Wyoming - I can totally see Zimmer falling for a player like Wingard. Quick, aggressive, a little reckless. He prefers to be moving forward and will even beat his linebackers to spots.

6 (209).DL/EDGE Jamell Garcia-Williams - A 6-foot-7 255-pound project who might put on another 30 pounds to work as an outside to inside pass rusher. Despite his size he shows some slipperiness.

7 (247). OL Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls - The reason the Vikings can turn mid-to-late round picks into difference makers is due to their coaches buying into projects. Pipkins is one along the offensive line, and boasts an athletic profile in the 79th percentile.

7 (250). RB Khari Blasingame, Vanderbilt - I know the Vikings might draft a back much earlier, but I think Mike Boone can be a solid backup.

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .