5 Players the Minnesota Vikings Must Build Around for 2014 and Beyond

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5 Players the Minnesota Vikings Must Build Around for 2014 and Beyond
Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor
Safety Harrison Smith must step up for the Minnesota Vikings in his upcoming third season.

The Minnesota Vikings are preparing feverishly for the 2014 season, currently evaluating college prospects at the NFL scouting combine.

But the talent pool in Indianapolis is only one factor in the equation for long-term success.

General manager Rick Spielman and newly appointed head coach Mike Zimmer have a handful of players on the roster who must serve as foundational pieces to build around for the future.

Each of the following five players serves as a cornerstone for the Vikings on offense or defense. They are ordered based on their impact to the team in helping Minnesota get back into playoff contention. 

And while the old adage of synergy still applies, that the whole (or team in this case) is greater than the sum of its parts, these players are vital in pulling that concept together.

 

Statistics courtesy of NFL.com, unless otherwise noted. Player rankings and advanced statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

All contract details courtesy of OverTheCap.com.

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