Analyzing the Needs of the Teams Surrounding the Vikings in the First Round of the Draft

Will Ragatz

Who the Vikings take in the first round of this week's NFL Draft will mostly be determined by what everyone else does leading up to Minnesota's picks. As much as Rick Spielman would like to have his choice of two players late in the first round, it's going to come down to the way the draft plays out.

Depending on how the board falls, Spielman could make a trade (or two) in the first round, or simply take whoever he and the Vikings like the most at each spot. To get a better idea of their surroundings, let's take a look at the needs of six teams scheduled to pick in front of – or in between – the Vikings.

Pick No. 18: Miami Dolphins

Top needs: QB, OT, S, EDGE

The Dolphins have more draft capital than any other team in the league, with three first-round picks, two seconds, and 14 total selections. They're going to be a major player in this draft from a trading perspective. If, as projected, the Dolphins take Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert with the No. 5 overall pick, they'll likely look for an offensive tackle or safety at 18. The Vikings, who also need a tackle, should hope Miami goes with a safety (perhaps Xavier McKinney or Grant Delpit) instead of a tackle like Josh Jones or Austin Jackson.

Pick No. 19: Las Vegas Raiders

Top needs: WR, CB, IDL, S

The Raiders also have multiple first round picks with which to address their needs. They're widely expected to go with a receiver at No. 12, whether that's CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, or Henry Ruggs. If that's the case, they're a prime threat to snag a corner that the Vikings may like; possibilities include Jeff Gladney, AJ Terrell, Jaylon Johnson, and Kristian Fulton. Conversely, if CJ Henderson falls to them at 12, the Raiders might take a receiver like Justin Jefferson or Denzel Mims at 19.

Pick No. 20: Jacksonville Jaguars

Top needs: IDL, CB, QB, WR

Yet another team with multiple first-rounders, the Jaguars have all sorts of possibilities with the 9th and 20th picks. The Vikings should be rooting for them to take Henderson at 9 so they're out of the corner market when their second picks rolls around. If Jacksonville winds up with Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw at 9, they'll be in play for Gladney, Terrell, or another corner at 20.

Pick No. 21: Philadelphia Eagles 

Top needs: WR, LB, CB, EDGE

If the Vikings really want Jefferson in the first, the Eagles would seem to present a major obstacle towards that. They desperately need to add a receiver to complement Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, and Jefferson's ability in the slot makes him an obvious fit. However, they could be tempted by one of the top two linebackers – Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray – leaving Jefferson for the Vikings.

Pick No. 23: New England Patriots

Top needs: QB, WR, EDGE, TE

The suddenly Tom Brady-less Patriots probably aren't going to enter the 2020 season with Jarrett Stidham as their starting quarterback. They might look to add a free agent, but another possibility is taking someone like Jordan Love or even Jalen Hurts in the first round. They also need a tight end, but there might not be one worthy of drafting in the first. New England could be a sneaky candidate to go receiver, pass-rusher, or offensive line and take someone the Vikings were hoping fell to 25.

Pick No. 24: New Orleans Saints

Top needs: LB, CB, WR, QB

The Vikings will be hoping that the Saints prioritize their needs at linebacker and quarterback instead of corner and receiver. Queen or Murray could make a lot of sense for the New Orleans defense, as could Love as the heir to Drew Brees if he falls. If the Saints do go CB or WR, that could throw a major wrench in the Vikings' plans at 25.

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