Minnesota Vikings Draft Observations from the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine
After reaching the playoffs in 2012, the Vikings aren't ready to call it "good" and rest on their laurels.
This is a young team, a team which is still growing into itself and one which still has some missing pieces to find.
Some of that will come via free agency, but the team is saying they won't go on a spending spree either. Which means the majority of their new blood will have to come from April's draft.
When they settle back down in the team offices, there are a few things they need to keep in mind.
Let's look at what they are.
There are lots of receivers
This is a good thing because the Vikings need lots of receivers.
While it would be nice if a Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen fell to them at pick No. 23, you can't count on it.
That's not a problem though, because we saw a pretty deep group of receivers on display in Indianapolis.
If they don't take a receiver in the first round, there are plenty of good players in the second, third and fourth rounds as well, all of whom have varied skill sets.
So even if they grab one receiver, they can easily get a complementary one right after.
We know they have the roster room.
The secondary can be addressed
While they won't get the best cornerback on the board, they are likely to have a good shot at a solid player with their first-round pick (either safety or cornerback) and the class is deep enough to where they can also grab one in the second.
It's easy to get caught up in the speed of the defensive backs at the combine, but there were also a lot of very solid players there.
The Vikings can hope Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant fall to them in the first, but they can be pretty happy with Darius Slay or Robert Alford in the second.
One guy I believe they will avoid is the former Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu. While I know he didn't impress with his speed, he did fine in drills and could be a solid player if he can stay out of trouble off the field.
I think this team will do a very thorough risk assessment, but ultimately pass. They already have a little locker room chaos with Percy Harvin—I don't see them wanting more of the same with Mathieu.
Backup quarterbacks might be scarce
We can easily spend a week or two debating if the implosion in the playoffs was Joe Webb being useless throwing the ball or offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave being unable to adjust his game plan to fit Webb's skills.
It's probably a bit of both.
That said, this team is in need of a quality backup—and it wouldn't hurt to have a second quarterback in the wings in case Christian Ponder doesn't pan out.
The problem becomes, who would it be and when do you pull the trigger?
As it stands, most of the better prospects will be gone in the first two rounds.
The Vikings won't grab one early, so it's up to the scouts to get them a guy who will be available on day three that will still be a step up from the backups they have.
I happen to like Zac Dysert and Matt Scott, both of whom seem to show some real promise. It's tricky though, because it's not a big need.
This is a critical year for Ponder. But it's also critical for a team which overplayed a little in 2012 and will have to play at that level now that expectations have been raised.
Quarterback is one of the most intriguing positions on this team—it's super-critical to the continued success of the franchise, but it's nothing they can spend much time, money or draft picks on.
You just need to hang on as we ride the Ponder Express again this year.
The team has some tough choices to make
This covers a few things. Of course, what to do with Percy Harvin tops the list, as does the question of how to get more weapons for Ponder whether Harvin is in Minnesota or not.
Then there is the question of how to attack the holes on the team. Do they continue to build the offensive line? How do they address the cornerbacks? What about some pass-rushers at linebacker? How many picks can one team use on receiver?
With nine picks in the draft, this team has plenty of firepower to tackle a bunch of their weaknesses. But they'll need to work hard to decide what to address first—and make sure they don't spread out their resources so much that they end up not improving, just treading water.
With that, the combine coverage for the Vikings is pretty much done. I'll be shifting to some prospect-specific articles about guys the team could look at throughout the draft as well as general free agency and team analysis.
What stood out to you from the combine? What should the Vikes and fans have learned last weekend? Let me know in the comments.
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