Browse the rest of the Zone Coverage Draft Guide.

TOP 40 PLAYERS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS NEEDS & TARGETS
POSITIONAL TOP 5 RANKINGS & VIDEO BREAKDOWNS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS DRAFT TRENDS
INMAN: NFC NORTH WORST CASE DRAFT SCENARIOS
SENIOR BOWL CENTRAL (PODCASTS, VIDEOS, ARTICLES)
INMAN’S MOCK DRAFT COLLECTION

When the Minnesota Vikings committed to mega-contracts to numerous members of their defensive core along with receiver Stefon Diggs and quarterback Kirk Cousins heading into 2018, they willingly entered into a financial realm where retaining intermediately-pricey free agents would be difficult to retain, and the NFL Draft would take on the utmost importance to fill out the roster with young, cheap talent.

They, in essence, doubled down on this philosophy by spending most of their 2019 free agency capital on an 11th-hour deal with linebacker Anthony Barr. It’s impressive they were able to accomplish much else after giving Barr over $13 million per year, but thanks to Barr’s low first-year cap hit they conjured the funds to sign defensive tackle Shamar Stephen and offensive guard Josh Kline at just over $4 million and $5 million per year, respectively.

While K Dan Bailey, RB Ameer Abdullah and OL Brett Jones were also retained on cheap one-year deals, the Vikings saw the departures of seven free agents, chiefly Sheldon Richardson, Nick Easton, Marcus Sherels and Trevor Siemian, while also releasing Andrew Sendejo and Mike Remmers to clear cash.

With departures outweighing arrivals, the Vikings have holes to fill across the roster – several of which being key positions that can affect their chances to win a division title or make a playoff run.

Let’s rank these needs, identity where in the draft they should be addressed and give you the profiles of some targets.

OFFENSIVE LINE

We put “offensive line” in general because the team can’t go wrong taking a tackle or guard. According to head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have contemplated trying Riley Reiff inside at guard. Additionally, their acquisition of Kline and retention of Jones strengthened the interior of the line but did little to help the tackle spot. Then again, drafting a guard could keep Reiff at his natural left tackle spot. With numerous interior linemen that appear to be a scheme fit for the Vikings, that could be the best way to go. In the end, Minnesota should address both positions at multiple points in the three-day process.

Tackle Targets (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1 Jonah Williams Andre Dillard Dalton Risner
DAY 2 Yodny Cajuste Greg Little David Edwards
DAY 3 Kaleb McGary Dennis Daley Max Scharping

Guard Targets (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1 Cody Ford Chris Lindstrom Garrett Bradbury
DAY 2 Erik McCoy Dru Samia Michael Dieter
DAY 3 Elgton Jenkins Ben Powers Michael Jordan

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

With high profile free agent Sheldon Richardson leaving for Cleveland in free agency, the Vikings have thus far only been able to fill that void with the acquisition of Shamar Stephen, who’s served as a merely backup on the team before. With key rotational player Tom Johnson also unsigned as a free agent, the Vikings are hurting for depth beyond stalwart Linval Joseph and should be in business for a DT at any point in the draft.

Defensive Tackle Targets (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1 Ed Oliver Christian Wilkins Jeffery Simmons
DAY 2 Dexter Lawrence Jerry Tillery Charles Omenihu
DAY 3 Renell Wren Khalen Saunders Kingsley Keke

WIDE RECEIVER

The Vikings did nothing in free agency to strengthen this position, so the draft will be extremely important. While having two no. 1 caliber wideouts in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen seems like a luxury, Minnesota discovered the hard way that having few options behind their two stars still made life tough on Cousins and the offense. With Laquon Treadwell in a contract year and no obvious candidates to take the no. 3 receiver spot (Aldrick Robinson is still a free agent), that person may come via the draft.

Wide Receiver Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Deebo Samuel Marquise Brown Andy Isabella
DAY 3 Antoine Wesley Hunter Renfrow Stanley Morgan Jr. Penny Hart

CORNERBACK

As Mike Zimmer can attest, it’s hard to have too many corners, and one could certainly make a case that cornerback is a position of need. The Vikings took Mike Hughes in the first round in 2018 out of Central Florida, but Hughes tore his ACL early in the season. In addition, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes dealt with nagging injuries throughout the season, casting Holton Hill and Mackensie Alexander into larger roles.

Now, with sixth corner Marcus Sherels gone, Alexander and Waynes entering contract years, Holton Hill suspended four games and Hughes coming back from a serious knee injury, the Vikings need depth, not only for this season but possibly for years to come. There’s also speculation they could part with a starting corner in a trade to clear cap space. First round again might be rash, but Day 2 and Day 3 are fair game.

Cornerback Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Amani Oruwariye Justin Layne Rock Ya-Sin
DAY 3 Lonnie Johnson Sean Bunting Kendall Sheffield

TIGHT END

Once again, building for the future is key in the draft, and the Vikings have two tight ends entering free agency in Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan II after this season. Minnesota has gotten in a habit of drafting tight ends on Day 3, but aside from Morgan – who specializes as a run-blocker – the Vikings haven’t found many hidden gems despite their efforts. Could this be the year they get more aggressive on Friday, perhaps?

Tight End Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Irv Smith Jr.  Jace Sternberger Dawson Knox
DAY 3 Kahale Warring Foster Moreau Zach Gentry

DEFENSIVE END

For at least one more year, the Vikings will have their familiar core of Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and Stephen Weatherly manning the defensive end spots. But 2020 gets fuzzy with Griffen’s contract potentially getting voided depending on his 2019 performance and Weatherly entering free agency. While Minnesota has fascinating prospects in Tashawn Bower and Ifeadi Odenigbo on the roster, they may want to throw another name in the mix for future seasons or even a rotational role this year. The Vikings historically tend to like the middle rounds for defensive ends.

Defensive End Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Jachai Polite Chase Winovich Charles Omenihu
DAY 3 Ben Banogu Anthony Nelson Maxx Crosby

LINEBACKER

The last-second retention of Anthony Barr kept the Vikings afloat at the linebacker spot. With all three starters under contract for multiple seasons and Eric Wilson still around as a reserve, the Vikings are fairly secure in this spot. Day 2 would be a stretch, but Day 3 is where they always go to find reserves.

Linebacker Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Mack Wilson Blake Cashman
DAY 3 Terrill Hanks Te’von Coney Ben Burr-Kirven

RUNNING BACK

Could the Vikings use more help at running back? Of course. Dalvin Cook hasn’t played a full season yet, Latavius Murray moved on the New Orleans, and Roc Thomas is being investigated for marijuana possession. But as we saw last year with Thomas and Mike Boone, the UDFA market can be rich with talented runners. Just because there’s a void at running back, doesn’t necessarily mean the draft is the place to address it. Nonetheless, here are some fun Day 2 options along with some more realistic Day 3s.

Running Back Targets (Day 2, Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2 Darrell Henderson David Montgomery
DAY 3 Alex Barnes Devin Ozigbo Bryce Love

QUARTERBACK

With the salary cap running dry, the Vikings spent low on the backup QB market, bringing in Sean Mannion on a cheap deal to compete with Kyle Sloter for the QB2 spot. Could they select their first quarterback since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014? Ultimately, Cousins has proven to be as durable a quarterback as there is, so quarterback depth may not be a huge priority — but maybe the Vikings got bold with a developmental option as Cousins heads into the penultimate year of his deal.

Quarterback Targets (Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3 Brett Rypien Will Grier Tyree Jackson

SAFETY

The Vikings have never been eager to draft safeties, and this year doesn’t feel any different. With Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris occupying the starting spots and Jayron Kearse still on board as a backup, Minnesota should be secure for this season. With Kearse in a contract year, however, the Vikings may want to consider adding a body (though they did add AAF castoff Derron Smith). Harris is also a pending free agent, but it’s likely he signs an extension. If any of the following names fall down the board to Day 3, the Vikings could consider.

Safety Targets (Day 3)

DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3 Taylor Rapp Mark McLaurin Johnathan Abram

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE
ZONE COVERAGE DRAFT GUIDE

TOP 40 PLAYERS
POSITIONAL TOP 5 RANKINGS & VIDEO BREAKDOWNS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS DRAFT TRENDS
INMAN: NFC NORTH WORST CASE DRAFT SCENARIOS
SENIOR BOWL CENTRAL (PODCASTS, VIDEOS, ARTICLES)
INMAN’S MOCK DRAFT COLLECTION

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