The 2019 NFL Draft is this month, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Minnesota Vikings will be the 17th team evaluated.
A year after the Minnesota Miracle, the Vikings failed to make the playoff with an 8-7-1 record. It was disappointing, but with how tough the division was last season, it is understandable. They will be in a good position to make a run at the playoffs again in 2019.
The offense was below average last season, averaging 22.5 points per game. Kirk Cousins led the passing attack with 4,298 yards, helping them rank 13th in the league. Two of his receivers eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and tight end Kyle Rudolph also had a solid season with 634 receiving yards. The running game was one of the worst in the league as neither Dalvin Cook or Latavius Murray reached 700 yards rushing, as Cook was often injured. The offensive line was not good and will need to be improved for next year. Not many changes were made to the offense so far this offseason.
On defense, the Vikings were in the top 10 in the league allowing 21.3 points per game. Their front four were solid with solid play from Linval Joseph, Sheldon Richardson and Danielle Hunter. Everson Griffen was decent when he was able to play as well. Hunter led the team with 14.5 sacks. The linebackers were also a productive unit, with Eric Kendricks topping the team with 103 tackles. Harrison Smith continued to lead the secondary from the safety position, but safety Anthony Harris also stepped up. At corner, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are good players, but did not play up to their potential last season. Richardson is gone from the defensive line and Anthony Barr agreed to a deal with the New York Jets before deciding to return to Minnesota.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
Minnesota has eight picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 18
Second Round (one pick): No. 50
Third Round (one pick): No. 81
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 120
Sixth Round (two picks): No. 190, No. 209
Seventh Round (two picks): No. 247, No. 250
Offensive Tackle- Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill are not good enough to both start. One needs to be replaced and O’Neill can move inside if necessary.
Offensive Guard/Center- The interior of the offensive line has not been good in years and needs to be improved.
Wide Receiver- Diggs and Thielen are amazing, but a better third receiver would make the offense even more dynamic.
Linebacker- The linebackers are solid, but aren’t good in coverage.
Defensive Tackle- Richardson has left and they need another defensive tackle next to Joseph.
Defensive End- Griffen and Hunter are great, but they need some pass rushers outside of them.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 18: Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
Ford played both right tackle and guard during his time in college. He was most successful at right tackle, but could play either position for the Vikings next season. Taking Ford will give them flexibility on the offensive line, as well as improve it a lot. Ford should help improve the run game, which would be a big asset to the Vikings.
Pick No. 50: Zach Allen, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle, Boston College
Allen played defensive end at Boston College, but it might be best that he move inside in the NFL. He is an ok pass rushers and great against the run. He also has the bulk to play on the inside. Allen should be able to play alongside Joseph to give the Vikings a formidable front.
Pick No. 81: Tre Lemar, LB, Clemson
The Vikings have to get a linebacker who can cover if they want to improve the defense. Lemar isn’t the best linebacker in the class, but should be able to help them in this area.