- The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Vikings should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
Two weeks ahead of the NFL draft, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.
Biggest Need: Guard
Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball and last year’s fired offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, felt they couldn’t because of ineptitude at guard. Those guards, Mike Remmers and Tom Compton, are gone, but their replacements, Danny Isidora and Josh Kline, are not much better. New offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski has been exposed to several systems over the years and will know how to shape the ground game to his personnel—the hope is the Vikings can be an outside-zone blocking team. That’s the style Kirk Cousins played in Washington, and Stefanski is a shrewd multi-level play-action route designer. Those throws usually come off outside zone looks. The addition of senior offensive assistant Gary Kubiak gives this coaching staff an even deeper wisdom in the depths of an outside-zone approach. That approach, however, requires mobile guards. Minnesota must find at least one, and probably two.
Hidden Need: Flexible Receiving Tight End
Kyle Rudolph is a quality starter, but he doesn’t have the burst or agility to be a threatening receiver in space. Backup David Morgan is, like many backup Viking tight ends before him, more of a blocker than receiver. A suave pass-catching tight end off the bench, like what the Eagles had two years ago in Trey Burton, would add a nice dimension to this offense for 10-12 snaps a game.
Also Looking For: Safety Depth
Anthony Harris has emerged as a veritable starter opposite Harrison Smith, but with an injury-marred Andrew Sendejo released and George Iloka now a Cowboy, there’s no genuine safety depth to speak of. Jayron Kearse is technically the No. 3, but his NFL experience is more as a big nickel slot corner, not a half-field deep defender. The Vikings, who often play an aggressive matchup zone out of two-deep looks, want assertive players at this spot.
Who They Can Get
Picking at 18, the Vikings have a good shot to grab either Alabama’s Jonah Williams or Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, both collegiate tackles who probably project better inside in the pros. Kansas State’s Dalton Risner is similar to those two in the event they’re both off the board.
• Question or comment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.