Minnesota Vikings' 5 Biggest Draft Needs Heading Into 2016 Combine

By Brad Berreman

The Minnesota Vikings took a significant step forward in Mike Zimmer‘s second season as head coach with a division title, and only a short missed field goal prevented them from winning a playoff game.

With this year’s NFL Combine on the horizon, here are the Vikings’ biggest draft needs right now.

Minnesota Vikings\' 5 Biggest Draft Needs Heading Into 2016 Combine
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5. Punter

Punter Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Locke was last in the NFL in gross punting average last season (41.6), and he was third to last in net average (37.8). I've lumped two possible needs into one later in this list, so I'll put competition for Locke on Minnesota's draft radar.

5. Punter

Jeff Locke was last in the NFL in gross punting average last season (41.6), and he was third to last in net average (37.8). I've lumped two possible needs into one later in this list, so I'll put competition for Locke on Minnesota's draft radar.

4. Linebacker

Linebacker Credit: Gregory Shamus - Getty Images
Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks look like long-term mainstays, but linebacker depth may be a big concern for the Vikings by the time the draft comes.

4. Linebacker

Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks look like long-term mainstays, but linebacker depth may be a big concern for the Vikings by the time the draft comes.

3. Safety

Safety Credit: Adam Bettcher - Getty Images
The safety spot alongside Harrison Smith is a notable hole in Minnesota's defense. Free agency could be used to address that need, but turning to the draft is more in line with general manager Rick Spielman's overall plan.

3. Safety

The safety spot alongside Harrison Smith is a notable hole in Minnesota's defense. Free agency could be used to address that need, but turning to the draft is more in line with general manager Rick Spielman's overall plan.

2. Wide Receiver

Wide Receiver Credit: Getty Images
A lot of blame can be placed for Minnesota's 31st-ranked pass offense last season, but a lack of a difference-making, defense-altering No. 1 wide receiver stands out. An early round pick on a wide receiver looks likely.

2. Wide Receiver

A lot of blame can be placed for Minnesota's 31st-ranked pass offense last season, but a lack of a difference-making, defense-altering No. 1 wide receiver stands out. An early round pick on a wide receiver looks likely.

1. Offensive Line

Offensive Line Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings allowed 45 sacks last season, and Teddy Bridgewater was under pressure plenty. An offensive line reshuffling is coming, with a couple offseason cuts possible, so a clearer picture of the situation should drive a draft plan for the unit.

1. Offensive Line

The Vikings allowed 45 sacks last season, and Teddy Bridgewater was under pressure plenty. An offensive line reshuffling is coming, with a couple offseason cuts possible, so a clearer picture of the situation should drive a draft plan for the unit.

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