The Vikings have a few areas of need on both sides of the ball. In last week’s article on KFAN, the defensive needs were addressed. Now, Gary Kubiak’s newly taken over offense will be looked at, and positions of need will be addressed in today’s article.
2020 offensive positions of need:
Many people believe that this team desperately needs help on the offensive line, and that is partially true. However, the Vikings don’t have the best track record at drafting offensive linemen in the first round and could potentially find talent on day two and three of the draft.
In his end of the year press conference, Zimmer talked about how the team pretty much redshirted two talented offensive linemen in Oli Udoh and Dru Samia. Neither of the two saw meaningful snaps in 2019 but being able to sit and learn the offense for a full year could be a huge benefit down the road.
Continuity is key when it comes to the offensive line and being able to have competition in training camp is going to be huge this summer. Other than Brian O’Neill, it’s difficult to find an offensive lineman that the Vikings hit on in the draft in the last few years. Garrett Bradbury had his ups and downs in his rookie season, and it will be crucial for him to improve in his second year as well.
Houston’s tackle Josh Jones would be a fit for Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme, but his draft stock has risen since the Senior Bowl. He is an athletic tackle that comes in at 6’5 and 311 pounds, but would still need some work when he gets to the pro level. With both the combine and pro days still up ahead, there is a lot of time for offensive lineman to rise or fall by the end of April.
Panicking about the offensive line is in every Minnesotans nature as a Vikings fan, but it is important to look at how far the line has come since 2018. Free agency helped out with the addition of Josh Kline in 2019, and if the cap allows it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Vikings go after another veteran presence to solidify the line.
It still wasn’t a great year by the offensive line by any means, but there is a chance that the team already has some of the missing pieces ready to fight for a starting job.
The Vikings have Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, and when healthy they are one of the best duos in the NFL. However, it’s extremely noticeable when one of the two go down that the offense just isn’t the same.
This is where things get interesting for the Vikings in the 2020 draft. The motto of taking talent over needs is one that the Vikings have tended to go by over the years, and there is a lot of talent at the wide receiver position.
With so much talent at the wide receiver position, it is likely that there could be a talented receiver sitting there in the second or third round. If that’s the case, the Vikings should heavily consider using a pick on a playmaker.
Bisi Johnson made some plays when he was called on, but he doesn’t have the big play factor to him. If a guy like K.J. Hamler out of Penn State or Tee Higgins out of Clemson are sitting there in the second round, it is almost a no brainer pick.
Adding someone with that much talent to an offense that already has Diggs, Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr. and one of the league’s most accurate passers in Cousins would be virtually unfair. Not to mention, Johnson would be a very solid number four receiver.
It’s not the biggest of needs for the Vikings, but an addition of an absolute play maker will always make a team better. The Chiefs are a prime example of having talent across the board on offense, and the Vikings are one receiver away from having one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.
There is a good chance that the Vikings find a way to extend Cousins this offseason, but that shouldn’t let them turn down the idea of drafting a quarterback. Not only could it be the successor to Cousins, but the Vikings need to find a legitimate backup with Sean Mannion being a free agent.
The Vikings have a quarterback that is coming off of his first ever playoff win, and Cousins proved that he has the clutch factor in him. However, drafting a rookie quarterback couldn’t hurt the team, and here’s why.
Three of the four final quarterbacks that were left on Championship Sunday were taken to be successors to an already established quarterback. Patrick Mahomes was taken when Alex Smith had made the Chiefs a playoff team, Aaron Rodgers was taken when Brett Favre was still in Green Bay and Jimmy Garoppolo was taken to learn behind Tom Brady.
Two of those three quarterbacks are first ballot Hall of Famers, whereas Smith can be compared to Cousins at that point in his career. This should prove to the Vikings that there is never a bad time to draft a quarterback.
A lot of the big name guys are projected to be selected before the Vikings 25th pick, but that doesn’t mean one of them couldn’t fall. If a guy like Justin Herbert or Jordan Love fell to the Vikings at 25, it wouldn’t be shocking if they went quarterback in the first round.
Another option would be to wait until the middle rounds and take a guy like Jalen Hurts, who still has plenty of things to work on. That is the beauty of having Cousins, because the team can still go out and compete while they groom a younger and more athletic quarterback.
The quarterback position is another one that isn’t a necessity at this time. However, it wasn’t a necessity for the Chiefs to take Mahomes and look where they are now.
The Vikings are in for one of the most interesting offseasons they’ve had over the last few years. The cap space is the tightest it’s been in a long time, there are numerous free agent decisions to make and there are players on the roster that didn’t play up to their contracts in 2019.
Because of all this, it’s going to be an extremely interesting offseason for the Vikings. There is plenty of talent still on this roster, but the team is in need of some key additions this offseason to take the next step in 2020.