The Minnesota Vikings are looking at a major overhaul to some key positions in the upcoming 2012 offseason.
What new General Manager Rick Spielman needs to decide is what positions are most in need of a makeover.
There’s no doubt that he’ll tackle the secondary, if he’s smart, and also revamp the offensive line—a line that can’t seem to keep their quarterback on his feet... ever.
Outside of these key areas, what other positions need looking in to? How about Running back? Quarterback?
Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, we don’t need to upgrade either of those positions. So breathe. Relax.
There are some people seem to think that Ponder isn’t the answer, but I, for one, am not of that ilk.
It would be nice to have a veteran presence behind Ponder—would also be beneficial to add some depth at the RB position, but other than that, the Vikings are good in these key areas.
Alright, now let’s look at where the purple really need to cut bait and add some actual talent—not good enough to just be on an NFL roster type talent—talent that can actually make a difference in a game.
With 87 receptions, 967 yards and six touchdowns this season, Percy Harvin proved he can be the go-to receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.
However, outside of No. 12, the options are slim to none—slim never actually leaving town because he was never here to begin with.
You can hardly sell Greg Camarillo, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu and Emmanuel Arceneaux as viable options, although we didn’t have much of a choice this season. Jenkins was having an OK campaign until he went on IR with a knee injury though.
A legitimate threat at the wideout position would allow for Harvin to work out of the slot where he is, in my not so humble opinion, at his true best.
I expect Rick Spielman to take a look at all the top WR options this offseason, with him making runs at either Laurent Robinson or Pierre Garcon.
Marques Colston may also be an option, although I just don’t see him thriving outside the system he’s in, therefore I have my objective fingers crossed that he doesn’t make his way to the northland.
Some may be scratching their heads as to why I’m not talking about Vincent Jackson. That’s because he’s a head case that just might be the streakiest WR in the NFL.
Streaky head cases are not what the Vikes need right now, nor ever really.
A position that is definitely not at the top of the priority list, defensive tackle should be worth taking a look at.
The Vikings finished 11th in rush defense, having given up 107.0 yards per game and finishing outside the Top 10 in rush defense for the first time since 2005.
They did only give up 3.9 yards per carry which still isn’t bad, but it is trending downward and that’s cause for concern.
Remi Ayodele was supposed to replace Pat Williams and that just wasn’t the case this season.
Ayodele piled up a head-scratchingly low 15 tackles, with just four of those being of the solo variety.
In comparison, he racked up 37 and 30 tackles in each of the past two seasons respectively while with the New Orleans Saints.
Like I said, DT is not a major priority right now, but is still worth a possible upgrade.
Jamarca Sanford. Mistral Raymond. Husain Abdullah. Tyrell Johnson. Eric Frampton. Not exactly what you would call NFL material, although they happen to be just that at the moment.
Frampton doesn't display the talent level to be playing on defense, but he is the best "football player" out of all of these clowns.
He's by far the best tackler of the group. It’s too bad his skills are best served on special teams.
In a perfect world—a world in which I am the GM and head coach—Antoine Winfield would be moved back to safety and LaRon Landry would get signed, solidifying the safety position for at least a couple years.
Unfortunately, we live in the not-so-perfect real world where I'm just a non-paid online scribe. Ugh...
Anyway, Landry needs to be at or near the top of Rick Spielman’s priority list, so the Vikings can finally have some credibility in the deep secondary.
As far as the other safety position is concerned, there’s still hope that a guy like Raymond or Sanford can grow into a serviceable starter, although Winfield does make the most logical sense.
Ya know, I’d really like to know what kind of year Chris Cook would have had, had he played the whole season.
People talk about how the Minnesota Vikings desperately need a shut-down corner, but I’m not so sure the Vikes don’t already have one.
Now, I’m not a fan of Chris Cook’s off-field behavior, but I was starting to become a fan of his on-field performances. He had started to display why he was so highly regarded coming out of Virginia.
If he does end up back with the team, that could potentially take care of some giant issues at this dire position.
The next order of business would be to get rid of Benny Sapp and Asher Allen, and replace them with someone who is competent enough to understand what it is to actually cover a wide receiver.
Now is that guy a Cedric Griffin? Two reconstructed knees and seemingly having lost a step or more tells me no.
I do believe he could hold his own in some nickel situations, but not alone out on an island—at least not on a consistent basis.
It would be really nice to see the Vikings make a play for unrestricted free agent Brandon Carr. Carr has been a solid cover guy for the Kansas City Chiefs playing opposite Brandon Flowers.
He would be a huge upgrade from the likes of Sapp and Allen, and would make an excellent complement to Cook, again saying that Cook is actually back with the team in 2012.
Clearly the Vikings are going to draft either OT Matt Kalil or OT Jonathan Martin, depending on how they play their cards come draft time.
There is the small chance that they take Morris Claiborne with the third pick, but it just doesn’t make any sense to neglect the second-most important position on the field, especially if Kalil is available.
It’s looking more and more like Kalil will be there at No. 3 too.
At the very top of Rick Spielman’s priority list should be the signing of All-Pro Guard Carl Nicks away from the New Orleans Saints.
With the potential addition of those aforementioned players to this paltry o-line, it would leave Charlie Johnson as a nice backup option to have in case of emergencies.
If Nicks doesn’t end up in Minny, Johnson would still make a better option than Anthony Herrera, who really struggled this year.
Johnson is a bit of a better pass blocker than Herrera and would make a better guard than tackle, given what he is capable of doing athletically.
Email Brian: Brian.Dezelske@gmail.com