Need #1: Cornerback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Trae Waynes (2015 1st rounder, he's an average to slightly above average starting CB, could be brought back if the price is right)
  • Mackensie Alexander (2016 2nd rounder, has spent most of his career in the slot, quality of play has been solid/unspectacular) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Xavier Rhodes (once regarded as a top 10 CB, received a monster contract extension in 2017, career has been on the decline since 2018 due to injuries and poor performance, the quality of play no longer comes close to justifying the contract - which makes him an almost certain cap-casualty) 
  • Mike Hughes (2018 1st rounder, started 6 games as a rookie, and 2 games last season, both of his pro seasons have ended prematurely - the first due to a torn ACL and the second due to a serious neck injury, when on the field the results have been mixed - there are flashes of starting CB ability - but also too many big plays given up, 2020 could be a career-defining season) 
  • Holton Hill (2018 UDFA, played a somewhat substantial role in the secondary as a rookie - and was impressive, but then got suspended for the first 8 games of the 2019 season - and did not see the field much upon activation, depending on what happens this offseason with Waynes/Alexander/Rhodes - Hill could be in line for a starting job in 2020) 
  • Kris Boyd (2019 7th rounder, emerged as a standout special teamer as a rookie, saw some CB snaps late in the year and flashed some upside, could compete for starting job in 2020) 

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings will need to either resign or replace Waynes and Alexander. They will also likely need to replace Rhodes. Leaving them with only unproven players in Hughes, Hill, and Boyd. This position needs to be overhauled. 

Updates:

  • Released Xavier Rhodes
  • Drafted in 1st Round: Jeff Gladney (4-year starter at TCU, on the smaller side but an explosive athlete, plays with great energy and confidence, very fluid in coverage and a willing tackler, aggressive but effective ball skills, was better in 2018 than he was in 2019, does have a history of knee injuries - dating back to high school, solid pick) 
  • Drafted in 3rd Round: Cameron Dantzler (shutdown CB in CFB's top conference, elite length, draft stock fell due to a slow 40 time, aggressive nature can work for and against him, tackling is inconsistent, injuries have been a hindrance, his tape is as impressive as nearly any CB in the draft class - but the big question is whether or not he has enough speed to excel at the next level, love the value in round 3 - another possible steal for the Vikings) 
  • Drafted in 5th Round: Harrison Hand (had a solid season at Temple in 2019 - transferred over from Baylor after an uneven start to collegiate career, checks boxes in terms of size/length and jumping ability, but other athletic measurables are only average, has some developmental upside) 

Need #2: Defensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Shamar Stephen (decent run-stuffer - but does not generate much pass-rush)  
  • Linval Joseph (missed 4 games in 2019 - and played much of the season at less than 100%, production dipped as a result - 2 sacks and 6 TFLs, the team may look to get out his sizeable contract, he will be 32 in Oct)
  • Jaleel Johnson (2017 4th rounder, emerged as a solid rotational DT last season - 3.5 sacks, could compete for a starting job in 2020) 
  • Jalyn Holmes (2018 4th rounder, has made a minimal impact thus far - only 11 game appearances and no starts through 2 seasons, but still has upside due to impressive athletic talent) 
  • Armon Watts (2019 6th rounder, flashed considerable upside in limited appearances as a rookie, he's a legit 2020 breakout candidate) 

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings have 32-year-old Joseph (coming off an injury-plagued season) and then several younger, relatively unestablished DTs. Leaving room for upgrades, depth, and competition. 

Updates:

  • Released Linval Joseph 
  • Signed Michael Pierce (excellent run-stuffing nose tackle, a younger upgrade over Joseph) 
  • Drafted in 4th Round: James Lynch (ultra-productive player at Baylor - was a first-team All American and won Big 12 DPOY after a  13.5 sack and 19.5 TFL in 2019, played DE in college but will move to DT in the Pros, has short arms and average Combine testing numbers - but finds ways to get the job done on the field - especially in terms of quickness and power, there is some real steal potential with this selection) 
  • COVID 19 Opt-out: Michael Pierce (big free agent signing, younger players like Watts and Johnson will need to step-up)

Need #3: Safety

Notable Free Agents:

  • Anthony Harris (one of the league's most underrated safeties, 10 INTs and 17 PBUs over the past two seasons, very strong in coverage and a sure tackler - he is a true impact defender on the back-end)  
  • Andrew Sendejo (veteran backup and special teamer - not an ideal starter) 
  • Jayron Kearse (has started 5 of 62 games over 4 seasons with the Vikings, flashes upside when given defensive playing time, good special teams player)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Harrison Smith (elite all-around safety, excellent in coverage and run-support, 5 straight Pro Bowls, he's no signs of slowing down - but is 31 years old and only has two more seasons left on his contract) 

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings will need to either resign or replace Harris. Depth is also needed. 

Updates:

  • Franchise-tagged Anthony Harris 
  • Drafted in 6th Round: Josh Metellus (productive player for the Wolverines - with lots of starting experience, advanced tackler - who hits with technique and power, coverage can be an issue - lacks fluidity and instincts in that area) 
  • Drafted in 7th Round: Brian Cole II (good size and intriguing athletic ability, only year of full-time starting experience - in large part due to a complicated transfer process, played S/LB role in 2019,   he's unrefined in coverage, will begin career on special teams)  

Need #4: Offensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • Rashod Hill (experienced swing tackle, better pass than run blocker) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Riley Reiff (average LT, not especially good but not especially bad either, he is signed through the 2021 season - but the team could look for a way out of what has been an unjustified contract, a switch to guard is also a possibility) 
  • Brian O'Neill (2018 2nd rounder, started 15 games at RT in 2019 and performance was solid - showed clear improvement as both a run and pass blocker from what was a rather disappointing rookie season the year before, though penalties were an issue this past season, he is locked-in to the starting RT job in 2020) 
  • Oli Udoh (2019 6th rounder, small school prospect with very intriguing size/length and athletic ability, did not play much as a rookie - but showed some promise vs. Khalil Mack in a Week 17 appearance) 

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings could stand to upgrade LT. They also need to add depth to compete with Udoh for the swing tackle job. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Rashod Hill 
  • Drafted in 2nd Round: Erza Cleveland (3-year starter at LT, very impressive athletic ability - tore up the Combine, checks boxes in terms of size/length but will need to get stronger, he's an excellent fit in the Viking's zone-blocking scheme and a tremendous value in the 2nd round) 
  • Drafted in 6th Round: Blake Brandel (48 game starter, experience at both left and right tackle, plays with good technique but lacks athletic ability and power/strength, swing tackle ceiling) 

Need #5: Interior Offensive Line

Notable Free Agents:

  • Brett Jones (experienced reserve - has started 17 of the 46 games he's appeared in - including 3 of 16 with the Vikings) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Pat Elflein (started 15 games left guard in 2019 - after spending the previous two seasons at center, his pass protection continued to be a struggle - while his run blocking was solid/unspectacular, he was also heavily penalized, 2020 will be a make or break season - pass protection must improve if he is going to stick around long-term) 
  • Garrett Bradbury (2019 1st rounder, started 16 games at center, rookie year was a mess - highlighted by consistent struggles in pass protection, he does have the athletic tools to eventually develop into a quality starting center - but he needs to add strength/power) 
  • Josh Kline (started 13 games at right guard, had a solid overall season as both a run and pass blocker) 
  • Dakota Dozier (experienced backup - made 4 underwhelming starts in 2019)
  • Dru Samia (2019 4th rounder, barley played as a rookie, was a good college player - regarded for his athletic ability and competitive demeanor - but scouts had concerns about technique and consistency, should factor into starting the conversation in 2020) 

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings could stand to upgrade left guard. They also need to think long-term at right guard - as Kline is more of a short-term solution. 

Updates:

  • Released Josh Kline (peculiar move - Kline was the Viking's most consistent IOL in 2019 and the cap savings are not very significant) 
  • Resigned Brett Jones 
  • Drafted in 7th Round: Kyle Hinton (small school prospect, played LT in college - but at 6'2 will have to move inside, good and powerful athlete - tested very well at Pro Day, stood-out against lower-level competition - highly decorated DII player, excellent late-round dart throw) 

Need #6: Defensive End / Edge

Notable Free Agents:

  • Stephen Weatherly (rotational DE, 6 sacks and 7 starts over the past two seasons) 
  • Everson Griffen (long-time staple along Vikings d-line, had a strong 2019 with 8 sacks and 66 pressures over 15 games played, he voided his contract in Feb - but reports indicate that a return is possible, though at 32 years old he does not represent a long-term solution) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Danielle Hunter (arguably the Vikings best overall player, 14.5 sacks, 15 TFLs, and 88 pressures in 2019, he's only 25 years old but already has 54.5 career sacks, signed through the 2023 season, SUPERSTAR)
  • Ifeadi Odenigbo (2017 7th rounder, broke through in 2019 with 7 sacks... despite not starting a single game, projects as a replacement for Griffen) 

Need Level: Moderate 

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings need to add depth to their DE rotation. 

Updates: 

  • Signed Anthony Zettel (roller coaster type career - the Vikings will be his 7th team since being selected in the 2016 draft, he had a mini-breakout in 2017 with the Lions - he recorded 6.5 sacks - but has 0 sacks since then, will not be guaranteed a roster spot)
  • Drafted in 4th Round: D.J. Wonnum (checks boxes in terms of size/length - also tested well at the Combine, lots of starting experience in the SEC - but the production has always been mediocre - only 4.5 sacks in 2019, still has some untapped upside - but at this point projects more as a rotational player than as a starter) 
  • Drafted in 7th Round: Kenny Willekes (limited athlete who wins with effort and instinct, had an ultra-productive career at MSU - 26 career sacks, a lack of explosive athletic ability and range will challenge him at the next level - but he's the type of player who will find a role somewhere/somehow)
  • Acquired via Trade: Yannick Ngakoue (nice pickup for the Vikings, Ngakoue is an excellent pass-rusher in the prime of his career, giving up a 2021 second-rounder is fair for a player of his caliber, this defense needed something following the Pierce opt-out and now they have it)

Need #7: Wide Receiver

Notable Free Agents:

  • Laquon Treadwell (2016 1st rounder, has been a borderline bust in Minnesota - 2 total TDs in 4 seasons, only caught 9 passes in 2019, still possess some theoretical upside - but a change of scenery is needed) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Adam Thielen (missed 6 games in 2019 with a hamstring issue, then suffered an ankle injury in the playoffs, when healthy he continued to be a borderline WR1 - see his 7 catch/129 yard performance vs. SEA in the Wild Card round, a bounceback is likely in 2020, though he will be 30 in August) 
  • Stefon Diggs (one of the league's premier playmaking WRs: 63-1,130,6 line over 15 games played in 2019, had a crazy 21-413-3 stretch over Weeks 6-8, but finished the regular season with only 94 targets - and only had 8 combined targets in two playoff games, the front office handed him a massive extension in 2018 - but the offensive gameplan simply does not feature him enough - which has led to frustration - a trade is possible) 
  • Olabisi Johnson (2019 7th rounder, found a role when Thielen got injured and ended up becoming a solid offensive contributor - reeling in 31 of 45 targets for 294 yards and 3 TDs) 
  • Dillon Mitchell (2019 7th rounder, spent rookie season on the practice squad, was a big-time playmaker at Oregon - and offers some upside if he makes the team in 2020) 

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings need to resolve the Diggs situation - either commit to increasing his targets (which should be a no-brainer) or trade him. Depth is also a concern - while Johnson emerged as a solid contributor - more offensive weapons are needed. 

Updates:

  • Traded Stefon Diggs (the compensation is excellent - but replacing the pure playmaking ability Diggs brought to the table will be near impossible, in the end though, this a win for both sides - Diggs will be featured more in BUF - while the Vikings no longer have to deal with the dysfunction - and can use all the draft picks to strengthen the team) 
  • Signed Tajae Sharpe (solid WR3/4 with some starting experience, nice depth addition) 
  • Drafted in 1st Round: Justin Jefferson (had a crazy-productive junior year at LSU - 111 catches for 1,540 yards, and 18 TDs, excellent hands and pass-catching concentration skills, finds ways to create separation before and after the catch, did not stand out in 2018 while playing as an outside receiver - shifted to the slot in 2019 - and broke out - the level of talent and spread nature of LSU's offense likely inflated his number's a bit - but the playmaking ability is real and dangerous, nice value and fit in MN) 
  • Drafted in 5th Round: K.J. Osborn (transferred from Buffalo to Miami in 2019 - and went on the lead the Hurricanes in receiving yards with 547, was never an extraordinarily productive player, tested well at the Combine but does not appear to be an overly explosive player on tape, will likely start career on special teams) 

Need #8: Special Teams

Notable Free Agents:

  • Dan Bailey (converted 27 of 29 FGA attempts in 2019, but did miss 4 XPs, seems to have corrected the consistency issues that plagued him in 2017 and 2018, was one of the league's most accurate kickers last season) 
  • Britton Colquitt (was among the league's best punters in 2019) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • None

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings will need to either resign or replace both Bailey (at kicker) and Colquitt (at punter). 

Updates:

  • Resigned Dan Bailey 
  • Resigned Britton Colquitt

Need #9: Quarterback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Sean Mannion (has thrown 0 TDs and 3 INTs across 75 career pass attempts - over his 5 year NFL career, made one start in 2019 - in Week 17 and played poorly, ranks low among the league's backups) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Kirk Cousins (above average starting QB who tends to fade in big games/clutch moments, passing yardage declined in 2019 - though run-heavy offensive approach had a lot to do with it, did have a stellar 26 TD to 6 INT ratio but struggled to get Diggs consistently involved, he can certainly take MN to the playoffs - but is he capable of taking them to a Super Bowl?) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings could consider drafting a young QB - as Cousins is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season. Backup QB must also be addressed. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Sean Mannion 
  • Drafted in 7th Round: Nate Stanley (ideal size and arm strength, but unrefined as a passer - completion percentage never hit 60%, lacks mobility, still not a bad late-round developmental pick) 

Need #10: Linebacker

Notable Free Agents: 

  • Eric Wilson (ERFA, played well in 2019 - 63 total tackles and 3 sacks across 6 starts, could emerge as a full-time starter in 2020) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Eric Kendricks (one of the NFL's most productive and complete ILBs, a true impact-defender, he's 28 years old and signed through the 2023 season) 
  • Anthony Barr (very durable and solid OLB, tends to excel when given an opportunity to rush the passer, but seemed to drop into coverage - which isn't his strong suit - far too often in 2019, whether his play justifies the $67.5 million contract is highly debatable, 2020 will be a big year for his future in MN)  
  • Cameron Smith (2019 5th rounder, did not make the team out of camp and bounced on and off the team's practice squad throughout the season, career at UCS was injury-plagued - but he tested well athletically before the draft, perhaps things will come together for him in 2020) 
  • Ben Gedeon (2017 4th rounder, missed 10 games in 2019 with two separate concussions, has 22 rather nondescript career starts under his belt) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address: 

  • The Vikings will almost certainly retain Wilson (he's an ERFA) - which will give them 3 high-quality LBs. Depth is the only need. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Eric Wilson 
  • Drafted in 4th Round: Troy Dye (4 year-starter at Oregon, ultra-productive, excellent length, a good athlete with sideline to sideline range, checks boxes in terms of tackling and coverage ability, high football IQ and good instincts, physically looks more like a safety than a linebacker - but stayed relatively healthy in college, surprised he fell this low in the draft, has starter upside) 
  • Waived/IR: Cameron Smith (needs heart surgery)

Need #11: Tight End / Fullback

Notable Free Agents:

  • None 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Kyle Rudolph (long tenured-player, great all-around TE - is an effective pass-catcher and run-blocker, production dipped quite low in 2019 - but that was more the result of a run-first offense that was limited on targets - reeled in an efficient 39 of 48 targets and 6 of them went for TDs, the organization will have to determine whether his large contract is worth the moderate production - especially with Smith Jr. waiting in the wings)
  • Irv. Smith Jr. (2019 2nd rounder, caught 36 passes for 367 and 2 TDs as a rookie - the receptions and yardage were nearly identical to Rudolph's, has the talent to emerge as a bigger threat in 2020 - and will someday overtake Rudolph) 
  • Tyler Conklin (2018 5th rounder, sparsely-used TE3, but has the talent to take on a larger role)

Need Level: Low

Need to Address:

  • Not much - the Vikings have one of the most complete TE depth charts in the league. 

Need #12: Running Back

Notable Free Agents:

  • Ameer Abdullah (effective kick returner, reserve RB) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Dalvin Cook (had a monster 2019 season - 1,135 rushing yards, 4.5 ypc, 53 catches, 519 receiving yards, and 13 total TDs, though from Week 9 on he never topped 3.7 ypc - so the wheels did fall off a bit in the second half of the season, while he did stay relatively healthy in 2019 - historically injuries have been a limitation - has appeared in 29/48 possible games in his 3-year career, he wants a long-term deal - but for a cash-strapped team there is some risk due to inconsistent reliability) 
  • Alexander Mattison (2019 3rd rounder, had an excellent rookie year as the primary backup to Cook, he'll likely serve as an RB2 in 2020 - but he has clear RB1 upside - and could give the team flexibility when dealing with Cook's expiring contract) 
  • Michael Boone (RB3 - saw some late-season action and flashed playmaking ability - took 17 carries for 148 yards and a score in Week 17) 

Need Level: Low

Need to Address:

  • The Vikings have a Pro-Bowler in Cook and one of the league's better backups in Mattison. There is very little need here. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Ameer Abdullah