draft or bust 2014

2014 Vikings Draft: Offensive Needs Ass-Essment

It’s April 9th, which means the 2014 NFL Draft is OFFICIALLY less then a month away. That means something. Something like … I should start looking at draft picks? I feel like this is how Leslie Frazier and/or Rick Spielman usually prepares for the draft anyway, so I’m on schedule for sucking at this. Luckily, Mike Zimmer has been thinking about the 2014 draft – and probably the 2015, 2016, and 2017 draft – already this offseason, so the team is in good hands.

Either way, as fans, we should do our due diligence to understand what the team needs heading into the draft. As such, we’ll start by looking at, and grading, different draft needs for the offense as things stand now. So let’s get reacquainted with how mediocre this squad is!


christian ponder steelers wk4 2013

On the Roster: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel

Situation: BAD! But somehow not nuclear. The Vikings clearly need a franchise quarterback to take them to the next level, and it’s just as clearly not one of these two shirtless wonders. However, both (but more likely Cassel) are not awful enough to warrant being cut, and we could probably struggle through another 8-8 season with these two manning the life boats. Unfortunately.

Draft Priority: Medium-High
I’d PREFER that the Vikings draft a franchise quarterback, like every year, but the talent never seems to match up with the picks we have. Indications seem to be that the team is looking for a young guy to groom, probably from the second round possibilities, but I doubt he’ll become the franchise guy.

adrian peterson sad bears 2013
Running Back:

On the Roster: Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata, Bradley Randle, Joe Banyard

Situation: You have to figure Peterson is still in his Bam Hammer prime for another two or three years, so it’s hard to justify getting to excited dropping a draft pick on a young running back to groom. Could we pick some shifty, Darren Sproles-y guy up in a late round? Sure. We could also sign a hobo off the street for a Schweigert’s and call it a done deal.

Draft Priority: Low
As long as Peterson is on the roster and not dead, it’s going to be a low priority to draft another running back. Thank god.

jerome felton draft 2013
Full Back:

On the Roster: Jerome Felton, Zach Line

Situation: Full back may be the only position on the team that I get a Lil’ Smokey for. Felton has proven his worth, and Line came on hard (phrasing!) last season, in both preseason and then a couple of games throughout the year. Plus, we always have weird hybrid tight ends who can step into this roll, and who the F drafts full backs.

Draft Priority: Low
We’re actually set at full back. Hurray!

kyle rudolph vikings camp 2013
Tight Ends:

On the Roster: Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford

Situation: After cutting John Carlson this off-season, the depth at the tight end spot took a hit. Not in talent, mind you, just in number of bodies that could flail around out there. Rudolph, by every right, should be a complete bad ass out on the field, but the coaches have thus far been too stupid to use him. Zimmer and Norv will figure it out, but that also means we may need additional bodies at this spot in case he tires out or gets hurt or whatever. Can Ellison and Ford fill that gap (phrasing!)? I’d say no, and would think the team COULD draft another tight end this year, but it wouldn’t be until later rounds.

Draft Priority: Medium
Would like to have another body there to develop, to complement Rudolph, but the Vikings could probably pick some guy up from the undrafted free agency pool, too.

greg jennings realization
Wide Receivers:

On the Roster: Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Rodney Smith, Adam Thielen, Kamar Jorden, Lestar Jean

Situation: Jesus, that’s a lot of people. The Vikings wide receiver crowd is pretty well rounded, but certainly needs to prove it with some help from crappy quarterbacks. Receivers also seem to be a dime bag a dozen, Jerome Simpson. If the Vikings need one, they’ll likely sign a veteran or a street bro to a one year contract.

Draft Priority: Low
What would they do, draft a receiver and cut a guy with a name like Lestar Jean? Not on this planet!

matt kalil draft 2013
Offensive Tackles:

On the Roster: Matt Kalil, Phil Loadholt, Charlie Johnson, Kevin Murphy, Mike Remmers

Situation: The Vikings’ roster page has Johnson listed as a tackle, I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. He sucks and everyone knows it. Either way, Kalil and Loadholt are locked in to their respective starts. Kalil could benefit from a nice bounce back season (hopefully?), but there still isn’t a lot of depth there.

Draft Priority: Medium
If Zimmer and Norv are anything like Frazier, they’ll stock pile tall, fat dudes like they’re canned soup in a bomb shelter. A middle round swinger offensive linemen would provide both depth at the position and some kinky questions in the locker room.

brandon fusco
Offensive Guards:

On the Roster: Brandon Fusco, Jeff Baca, Vladimir Ducasse, Josh Samuda

Situation: Again, put Fat Ass Charlie here if you want. Now the Vikings have depth … But also width! … They signed Ducasse this off-season to help flesh out the position, but indications are that he’s not all that great. Position flexible interior linemen are gems to have on any football team, and also command respect in the bedroom.

Draft Priority: Medium
I say medium, but I wrap that priority grade in as one with the offensive tackle position. My guess is the Vikings will be like “Hey, it’s round six, we should probably take a linemen. Tackle or guard? Let’s flip a coin” and that’d be as good of a pick as any.

john sullivan vikings

On the Roster: John Sullivan, Joe Berger

Situation: Sullivan is cemented as the starter, and Berger has backed up Sullivan for some time now, so there is nice continuity along the offensive line. I don’t see that being shaken up just for fun, so drafting a center is probably not a huge concern.

Draft Priority: Low
Maybe that aforementioned swinger/flexible linemen will be such a Renassaince Man that he’ll also dabble in center play. Sorprendente!


So as a recap, if we’re looking at offensive needs, here is how the Vikings should prioritize their draft board:

QB: Medium-High
TE: Medium
OT: Medium
OG: Medium
RB: Low
WR: Low
C: Low
FB: Low

Clearly, help is needed on the defense. Thoughts?


About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.