The Minnesota Vikings successfully navigated their way from being in the red to having just over $12 million in cap space (19th in NFL), per Over the Cap. Creating that cushion against the cap is something that Minnesota had to do, but it clearly came at a cost. Looking at the current roster, the Vikings have created more questions than answers this offseason.
There is now a glaring hole at wide receiver after trading away Stefon Diggs, and though the Vikings did retain Anthony Harris on the franchise tag, there are several holes at cornerback after Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes (post-release) went elsewhere in free agency. Minnesota is putting a lot of trust in Ifeadi Odenigbo to grow into a full-time starting role on the edge after Everson Griffen’s departure, as well, especially without a true pass-rushing presence on the interior. The offensive line thorns that have been in the Vikings’ side didn’t magically disappear, either.
With all due respect to Colin Cowherd, they do not have the second-best roster in the NFL right now. Considering they just re-upped Kirk Cousins’ contract, that is a problem. The Vikings really have no choice but to try to contend now. You don’t give Cousins two more years on a deal that pays out $61 million fully guaranteed from 2020 through 2022 and then rebuild. The problem is that this roster is looking bare at a lot of important positions right now — not a great sign for a team that has its sights set on the NFC North crown.
Players like Prince Amukamara as a starter outside or Tramon Williams as a short-term fix in the slot would fill needs with players who have provided quality play in the secondary for years, but the Vikings’ primary path to adding high-level players right now is through the draft. Minnesota now has five selections in the first three rounds (22, 25, 58, 89 and 105), and they’ll need to find immediate contributors from those picks in order to have success next season.
PFF's Mike Renner released his three-round mock draft yesterday, but I wanted to get a team-specific mock in. Using PFF’s new mock draft simulator — fully functional with grades on selections and trades, customizable big boards that can mix consensus boards with PFF’s and weigh options for team needs and positional value — this is how I would attack April 23rd and 24th as Rick Spielman with the 1,191 pages of information in the PFF Draft Guide at my back. For those playing along, the settings I used were:
- 25% PFF Big Board, 75% Public Big Board (to get a more realistic scenario from simulated teams)
- “Yes” on Draft for needs?
- “A little” on Care for positional value?
- “Less Random” on Randomness