Late January is the time of year for teams like the Minnesota Vikings to start evaluating their needs for next season. It’s been a couple of weeks since the disappointing first round playoff exit and it’s time for the front office to go to work and think about moves to make in the coming weeks.
Addressing the team’s needs is obviously the first part of this process and after what we saw in 2012, the areas where the Vikings must improve are pretty clear. To me the team has to improve its wide receivers, linebackers and secondary. You can argue that the backfield, offensive and defensive lines are all very solid, and of course we know that Christian Ponder is the starting quarterback of this team.
The easiest, most cost effective way to build a team is with the NFL Draft. GM Rick Spielman will no doubt make this the focal point of building in the off-season.
Now, you can make a case that the Vikings need to improve nearly every position outside of running back, but I think the first three draft picks must be a linebacker, receiver or cornerback in any order. These three positions should take precedence over all the rest, with offensive guard following right after that.
On the other side, Minnesota figures to continue its trend of acquiring value players for depth in free agency. It’s a strategy that paid off in 2012 as fullback Jerome Felton signed for a mere $700,000 and is now an All-Pro. There are always hidden gems to be found on the free agent market.
We’ll see what rumors come across the board in the next few weeks, but I expect the Vikings to focus on acquiring linebackers and receivers first this spring. Spielman will likely try to find players than can come in and contribute right away from the draft like FS Harrison Smith and CB Josh Robinson.
It’s clear Spielman’s strategy from last year worked, so I expect to see more of the same in 2013.
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