5 Areas Of Need Minnesota Vikings Must Address In Coming Offseason
5 Off-Season Needs For Minnesota Vikings
Finishing the season with a 5-10-1 record wasn’t what the Minnesota Vikings had in mind coming into the 2013 NFL season. They were fresh off a playoff appearance from the 2012 season and things seemed to be on the upswing after drafting three impact rookies in the first round of last year’s draft.
The quarterback position became a bigger area of concern than many thought it would be, and heading into the 2014 offseason, the central focus must be on finding a franchise signal-caller. There are quite a few established players that should be on the Vikings’ radar, such as Michael Vick and Kirk Cousins, but the draft is the most likely place management will look to improve the game's most important position.
Leslie Frazier is out as the team's head coach now, meaning fans must play the waiting game to find out who will lead their franchise going forward. Finding a head coach is the first priority of the offseason as the team must have an identity before going forward in their draft preparation.
This past season showed plenty of flaws on the Vikings’ roster, so the following five slides will point out the areas that must be improved during the coming offseason if the Vikings hope to make a return to the playoffs in 2014.
No. 5 Defensive Tackle
The Vikings will be losing Kevin Williams and Fred Evans to free agency this offseason, and even if they weren’t, defensive tackle would still be an area of need. Hopefully the team signs Everson Griffen to an extension to replace the departing Jared Allen, and while that sets up the starting defensive end spots, the team must make an effort to bring a big body in to play alongside Sharrif Floyd in the trenches.
No. 4 Cornerback
Chris Cook has finally played out his rookie contract, and it’s about time the Vikings part ways with the second-round bust. Cook has failed to show much improvement during his four seasons in the NFL, and because he's been a constant starter when healthy, the Minnesota secondary has struggled when he plays. Xavier Rhodes had a solid rookie season, but aside from him, the Vikings may as well start over at the cornerback position. One player they must at least make an effort to bring in is current Tennessee Titan but soon-to-be free agent Alterraun Verner. The fourth-year player truly emerged this season by collecting a career-high five interceptions and showing glimpses of being a shut down corner.
No. 3 Offensive Line
Last season, the Vikings’ offensive line helped Adrian Peterson nearly set the record for most rushing yards in a single season. In 2013, however, the offensive line play was sporadic and inconsistent early on and played a big part in the Vikings’ 1-7 start. The tackle positions are set for the foreseeable future with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, but with Charlie Johnson playing unspectacular football and being a free agent, the Vikings could look to the draft to either replace the eight-year veteran or simply add some depth at the position. Although not a huge area of need for this team, a solid offensive line will be important for the continued success of Peterson, who continues to be the team’s main source of offense.
No. 2 Quarterback
The Vikings haven’t had a reliable quarterback under center since Brett Favre, and in the three seasons since Favre’s impromptu return, the Vikings have been unable to win a single playoff game. The quarterback clearly is the most important player on the field, and it’s time the Vikings take another stab at finding their franchise signal-caller. Attacking a solid quarterback in the first two rounds of the upcoming draft is a must for the Vikings as they have Matt Cassel under contract for one more season. This means the Vikings can attempt to win now with Cassel, but also groom a rookie quarterback at the same time.
No. 1 Coaching
The firing of Leslie Frazier was a start, but the Vikings are going to have two coordinator positions open soon, and they must bring in the right guys for the job. The defense is where the most work must be done, so bringing in a smart defensive coordinator is a must if they hope to compete in 2014. The offense wasn’t completely worthless last season, but with a rookie quarterback likely coming in, selecting the right offensive coordinator could be the difference between seeing the next Christian Ponder or Russell Wilson in purple and gold.