This off season Howie Roseman has plenty of holes that need to be filled (very profound, thanks for noticing.) This is the tightest the cap has been in the last several of years mostly due to Bradford’s dead money.Thank God he is the Vikings’ problem though. Without being able to spend money on top-tier free agents, which we all know works out well for us, the draft looks to be the way to go. I will not gear this post so much on solutions to the problems as much as it is hard to do that until we see the combine and which players even make it to free agency. I will address the top 5 needs and attempt to number them. Buckle up fellas and enjoy the ride.
1) Corner back- For the past couple of months the common argument has been do we need a corner more or a receiver? I have to give the nod to corner solely because of the Mckelvin release. Yes it was a good move, it had to happen and it gives us more cap-space flexibility. The only issue is that it leaves the position a little thin. The team is now pressured to resign Nolan Carroll. Jalen Mills is entering his second year, Ron Brooks missed practically the entire season. The rest are special teamers and practice squad players. The position is in absolute shambles, the silver lining is the upside that Mills has and the great safety tandem can make a huge difference.
2) Wide Receiver– This was probably the most glaring need from last season. This team has receivers that can not gain separation and can not catch. Kind of big deals for people who get paid millions to gain separation and catch. Right now the only solid receiver on the team is Jordan Matthews but he is no #1 receiver. Agholor can gain separation but can not catch and it looks to be a lot more mental than anything. We still do not know what we have in DGB and will not until he gets his first full off season with the team. Paul Turner is a fan favorite and can catch the ball, but it looks like he is not athletic enough to succeed at this level, but if he keeps working anything is possible.
3) Running Back- Having a solid running back can make all the difference. Remember how good the Cowboys did the year Demarco Murray lead the league in rushing? You see how good they did this year having Zeke run the ball behind that line? Running back is important. We can not go into next season having Ryan Mathews as the team’s top back, and there is no reason Darren Sproles, at his age and size, should get the workload he received. Mathews had crucial fumbles that have lost games and he has been often hurt. Having a stud running back (perhaps Dalvin Cook?) to take the pressure off of Wentz will help him develop into an awesome QB and realize his potential. A running back will be a game changer for this offense, and will open up play action. Luckily there are a few good running backs in this draft that can fill the void and change the game.
4) Offensive Line- Everything is irrelevant with out a good offensive line, but luckily we do have some players along there.Our starting 5 right now are Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson. This position is a need due to the fact that Peters has maybe 1-2 years left, there has already been rumors that Kelce may be a cap casualty (for some reason), Barbre is already 32, Brandon Brooks suffers from anxiety and often misses games from it and Lane Johnson can not pass a drug test. On paper, if all of these players stay on the field and stay healthy and sober, this position is a strength. Chances are that won’t happen. We do not need to spend a top pick on the line but we do need to add bodies there.
5) Defensive end- We all know how good Brandon Graham played last season, he really proved a lot of people wrong. The other side of the defensive line is what worries me. We saw how much our defense dipped at the end of the season when the line stopped getting pressure and having Fletcher Cox eat up double teams every play, the ends should thrive. Connor Barwin is obviously playing out of scheme, used more effectively as a 3-4 OLB he did not duplicate the same success as a 4-3 DE. Vinny Curry did not earn his money last season and maybe the lack of playing time (again) is to blame, he was not able to get in to a groove due to inconsistent snaps. A great pass-rush can make up for a sub-par secondary.
There is no way all of these holes can be filled in only one year, all we can hope for is a strong draft. No one knows what the team will decide to do or who is even on their draft board. Lets just pray we do not take another Marcus Smith, though I am not holding my breath. The picture will be clearer once the combine comes and goes next month.