MINNEAPOLIS - We’re a week away from the NFL Draft, and there remain all kinds of questions for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings currently have 10 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, after making 15 selections last year. In addition to the No. 14 overall pick, the Vikings have two third round picks, four fourth round picks, two in the fifth round and one in the sixth round.
Anything can and likely will change when it comes to Rick Spielman and his draft picks, so it’s a safe bet he’ll do something to get into the second round. They lost that pick last year in a deal to bring Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota, which didn’t work out for the Vikings.
Here’s a look at five questions facing the Vikings as they enter the NFL Draft.
WILL THE VIKINGS DRAFT A QUARTERBACK?
There might not be a more polarizing figure on the Vikings roster than quarterback Kirk Cousins. He’s under contract for the next two seasons, including a $45 million cap hit in 2022. He threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes last season, but he also tied his career high with 13 interceptions. He’s also criticized for struggles to make plays under pressure, and his inability to lead the Vikings to win in big games.
The consensus top five quarterbacks in this draft are Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Zach Wilson (BYU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) and Trey Lance (North Dakota State). At least three quarterbacks are likely to go before the Vikings pick at No. 14, but what if Fields or Lance is available? It would be awfully tough to let either of them slide in that scenario.
WHAT DO THE VIKINGS DO WITH THE OFFENSIVE LINE?
It’s no secret that the Vikings need to add depth and talent to the offensive line, and it will happen at some point. In three seasons as a starter, Kirk Cousins has been sacked 107 times. The Vikings had one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL two seasons ago before Dalvin Cook finished second in the NFL last year with 1,557 rushing yards.
The current returning offensive line features Garrett Bradbury, Brian O’Neill, Dakota Dozier, Ezra Cleveland, Dru Samia and Rashod Hill. Drafting offensive line isn’t sexy, but it’s a need for the Vikings, and it’s an obvious choice with the No. 14 pick.
WHAT'S THE FUTURE FOR JEFF GLADNEY?
Mike Zimmer loves drafting defensive backs, and the Vikings might need to add more to the secondary with defensive back Jeff Gladney’s status up in the air. Gladney turned himself into authorities earlier this month in Dallas, accused of assault in an incident involving his girlfriend. Even if the Vikings don’t release Gladney, he’s subject to suspension by the NFL.
The Vikings’ current secondary includes Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, Cameron Dantzler, Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, Mike Hughes, Harrison Smith and Xavier Woods. If the Vikings draft a defensive back early, it could be a sign that Gladney’s future Is in doubt.
WHAT ABOUT THE KICKER?
It’s not a Vikings conversation without some talk about the kicker. The Vikings released veteran Dan Bailey in the offseason after a rough finish to 2020. He was in Minnesota for three seasons, signed after Daniel Carlson had a disastrous start to his rookie year with three missed kicks at Green Bay.
Zimmer doesn’t tolerate, or have patience for kicking issues. The Vikings signed Greg Joseph, who was on the Tampa Bay practice squad last year after being cut by the Tennessee Titans. If nothing else, will the Vikings draft a kicker to compete with Joseph?
DO THE VIKINGS ADD MORE TO THE DEFENSIVE LINE?
It will be interesting to see what the Vikings do, if anything, to add to the defensive line through the NFL Draft. Without Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce, the Vikings struggled to stop the run and generate a pass rush. Hunter is back healthy, Pierce returns after opting out and the Vikings added Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency.
The Vikings also bring back D.J. Wonnum, Stephen Weatherly and James Lynch from last season.
The NFL Draft is a week away. What the Vikings do with their 10 draft picks is likely a big tell of where the 2021 season could go.