draft or bust 2014

2014 Vikings Drat: Defensive Needs Assessment

We’re getting closer and closer to the NFL Draft, and outside of the uber-nerds who have already dissected the entire coaches tape of every prospect in the seventh round, the rest of us need to probably start paying attention to what’s going on with the Vikings, what their needs are, and who the potential new draft picks could be for the team. Sorry, some of us have BOOBS to look at instead of game tape. NERDS!!! ….

Anyway, we looked at the offensive needs earlier this week, and today we rank the draft needs of the defense. Buckle up, this side of the ball is likely going to take a while.

DEFENSIVE TEAM NEEDS

everson griffen sad bears 2013

Defensive Ends: 

On the Roster: Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Corey Wootton, Spencer Nealy, Justin Trattou

Situation: In the past year or so, the Vikings have signed pretty much every single one of these guys to a new contract so they would be on the team. Essentially, that means our DE spot has kind of taken on new life. Griffen signed his big contract this offseason to become our new stud on the defensive line, Wootton was brought in as thanks for killing Favre, and I have no idea who Nealy and Trattou are. I’d guess no one else does, either.

Draft Priority: Medium
Essentially, you have 2.5 serviceable defensive ends heading into the draft. Let’s say Griffen or Robison get hurt, or need a sell during a game. Wootton can come in, but can he hold it down? Are these other two guys more than just camp bodies? There are certainly higher needs on the team than defensive end, especially considering all the money the team dropped on the position recently, but it was spent because an upgrade is needed. We could still draft to upgrade it further.

sharrif floyd vikings 002

Defensive Tackles:

On the Roster: Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, Fred Evans, Chase Baker, Tom Johnson, Kheeston Randall

Situation: With Kevin Williams taking his graceful bow out from the team, and the Vikings signing Joseph and re-signing Evans, the interior of the line should actually see an improvement AND an injection of hot, youth action (these guys are young, I mean). You’re essentially four-deep here, as Baker seems like he’s been around for a while, and these two random guys – Johnson and Randall – can just lay down and flail their arms if it ever comes to them seeing action on game day.

Draft Priority: Low
And that’s kind of surprising, in retrospect. The signing of Joseph certainly changed the fortunes of this position going forward. They could certainly pick a late round fatty or sign some undrafted free agent for training camp this year, but I don’t see DT as a priority.

chad greenway vikings bears 2013

Outside Linebackers:

On the Roster: Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Gerald Hodges, Larry Dean, Simoni Lawrence

Situation: I put the newly re-signed Jasper Brinkley as an OLB, even though I’m pretty sure he plays inside, but I am hoping we either draft a better inside guy or let the other currently on the roster take that spot. Either way, Jasper or no Jasper, and WITH Greenway holding down a spot, this whole position just sucks cucumber. Linebacker, across the board is easily the weakest position on the team, and we need to find someone who will work here. Can Hodges step up and grab a spot? That would be helpful.

Draft Priority: Medium-High
I think the inside linebacker position is a higher priority than some of the outside spots, but if we could draft at least one stud ANYWHERE across the linebackers, it’d change this teams’ fortunes PRETTTAY quick.

audie cole packers 2013

Middle Linebackers:

On the Roster: Audie Cole, Michael Mauti

Situation: NOT GREAT, BOB. Personally, I like both Cole and Mauti. When they were actually given playing time by the incompetent coaching staff last year, they did pretty decent. Cole was actually cut like an idiot coach would do, then re-signed to start thanks to injuries, and was a bright spot. Similar to Mauti, who I will always remember for his big stuff on a goal line stand … In a game we probably lost, but whatever. Either way, if we could get a top linebacker here too, it’d change the defense.

Draft Priority: High
I think everyone is aware that if a linebacker the Vikings like is at draft spot number eight, they’ll take him. And I don’t disagree with that move.

xavier rhodes vikings 001

Cornerbacks:

On the Roster: Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels, Derek Cox, Shaun Prater, Robert Steeples, Kip Edwards

Situation: Is this the typical Vikings cornerback situation? Tons of guys to fill a spot, but no real talent? I mean, SHUT DOWN talent. You look at this and you think “Hey, a lot of these guys can play.” And that’s true! But are they really any good? Rhodes is a starter, but he’s still young. Munnerlyn is dynamic, but is clearly better in certain situations. Robinson has disappointed, Sherels is a return specialist, Cox is newly signed but has been up and down, people like Prater, but he hasn’t done anything … I mean, at what point do these guys either step up and claim their Game of Thrones or do we bite the bullet and draft a top CB?

Draft Priority: Medium
Despite the question marks, the team did go out and drop some money on Munnerlyn and Cox, so they clearly think they have some value. Outside of the that, the number of bodies here just indicate they are going quantity over quality, and hoping one of these bros floats to the top of this sh*t heap. And really, if they draft a third or fourth round CB, would any of them be better than our current third or fourth level CB? I’m not so certain. But the star power at CB is definitely lacking.

harrison smith lions 2013

Safeties:

On the Roster: Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Andrew Sendejo, Robert Blanton, Brandon Bishop

Situation: Unlike the cornerback spot, safety at least has one bonafide star holding it down in Smith. He was complemented adequately last season by the HYDRA-Head rotation of Sanford-Raymond-Sendejo, but they all seem rather interchangeable and redundant. I don’t know why Blanton is still on the team. I don’t know who Bishop is. An X-Men?

Draft Priority: Medium-Low
I feel like teams will get into a position, when they have a star at one spot, that they’ll think they can get by with lesser complementary talent. That would seem to be the case with the Vikings’ safeties, pairing Smith with Random-Bro. And again, they may take a flyer on a late round safety just to see if he pans out, but I don’t see it being a big priority.

DRAFT NEEDS SUMMARY

WE NEED EVERYTHING! LOL, no, but really, here is a recap of the Vikings defensive draft needs based on my scientific prioritizing:

MLB: High
OLB: Medium-High
CB: Medium
DE: Medium
S: Medium-Low
DT: Low

I don’t think we have enough draft picks to take care of all of this. Crap. Thoughts?

PJD

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.

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