5 Most Pressing Needs for the Minnesota Vikings Post-Free Agency

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - MAY 4: Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman of the Minnesota Vikings look on during a rookie minicamp on May 4, 2012 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Acquiring a vertical threat and re-signing a bunch of their own free agents were high on the agenda for the Minnesota Vikings and now that the majority of that has been dealt with, what's next?

Overall, everything which was an issue prior to the beginning of free agency remains an issue.

So let's see if, at least, some of those needs are a little less intense after a week of free agency.



5. Defensive Tackle

Kevin Williams and his $7.5 million cap hit are currently still on the roster and could stay that way. If not, there is a pretty decent-sized hole in the defensive line. Even if he does, how many more years does he have?

According to Spotrac, he's got just two more years left. After that, one assumes he won't be coming back or if he does, it would probably be for a reduced role.

Along with him are Letroy Guion, who was very uneven last year; Fred Evans, who is really more of a reserve player; and Christian Ballard, who also fits more on a substitution basis.

They'll need to add some more depth here, and hopefully pick up someone with more upside than what's there once Williams is gone.



4. Middle Linebacker

Right now, the middle linebacker on this team is Audie Cole.

Now, I'm a huge Cole fan, but it's too much to ask for him to step in as a starting middle linebacker anytime soon. I'd like to think otherwise, but I can't. Jasper Brinkley is gone, and while Erin Henderson was brought back on a two-year deal, it's clear he isn't the long-term answer.

The Vikings need to look around for that answer to shore up the middle of the field, especially against the run—an area which they faltered all too often over the past year.



3. Offensive Guard

With Phil Loadholt back (and Matt Kalil being Matt Kalil), the tackles are set. Ditto center with John Sullivan.

Guards...not so much.

I didn't come away from 2012 impressed with Brandon Fusco, and Geoff Schwartz is gone. Charlie Johnson wasn't much better at left guard than he was at left tackle.

There might be a guard in the middle of the first round they can grab; otherwise, they'll have to make do with what they have or something else they get out of free agency.

But the line is almost there—time to finish it off.



2. Wide Receiver

Greg Jennings was a great start but they can't be done. Jerome Simpson may yet pay off (I have my doubts) and Jarius Wright has the look of a solid player, but ultimately that's not enough. Even if Greg Childs is ready to go (and he won't be), they still need more players.

I expect at least one receiver in the draft, probably relatively early (especially with two first-round picks).

I'd love to see someone like Tavon Austin in camp, but ultimately there are plenty of good receivers to be had and they can grab one any time within the first two days.

They need to keep feeding weapons into the passing offense though.



1. Cornerback

This was a pretty high priority before free agency and the team cutting Antoine Winfield. It only became more critical after the roster move—especially when Greg Jennings eased the pressure a little on acquiring a receiver.

Winfield may come back, but his departure brought to light how thin the secondary is—even with him. It's unlikely that the way things fall allows for the Vikings to have a shot at one of the top two corners, but if it does, they should jump.

Either way, this is a concern which needs to be addressed early in the draft. Like with the receiver position, their big number of picks in the first two days give them some shots at players.

Unlike with the receivers, though, the cornerback depth isn't quite as deep, so they might not have the same luxury to wait.


What didn't the Vikings handle in free agency? Where should they focus their attention in the draft? Let us know down in the comments.


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