The Minnesota Vikings overachieved in 2012, thanks large in part to the MVP performance of running back Adrian Peterson, who had the best season of his football career coming off of a serious knee injury. Peterson is arguably the best offensive weapon in the NFL right now, and it’s high time the Vikings took to putting talent around him.
The wild card game against Green Bay was the closest the Vikings have come to the Super Bowl since they signed Brett Favre, and I think they have enough pieces in place to potentially get a little further this next year. Here are my top needs for the Vikings this offseason, in no particular order.
1. Wide Receiver
The Vikings are in desperate need of some WR talent. If they can find a way to get Dwayne Bowe AND use their first or second round pick on a receiver, I think they’ll have something going. Still, this is an area of the team where they have Percy Harvin and no one else. Harvin is an elite player, but he’s got some injury issues and may be over-worked in Minnesota’s offense. That’s the guy you need to get the ball to, and so the Vikings are going to need to put some pieces in place around him that he can be more effective with fewer touches. I think adding Dwayne Bowe is a great idea, or maybe go and get a guy like Mike Wallace. Either way, the Vikings need to make this a position of priority this offseason.
Chad Greenway is a stud, but Erin Henderson and Jasper Brinkley are both going to be free agents this offseason. The Vikings have been able to get by with those two guys, and they are productive players, but can they retain both? That’s a question that will be answered in March.
The Vikings seem to have issues at this position every year. Antoine Winfield is a Pro Bowl player when he’s healthy, and he had a great bounce back season after playing just five games in 2011. The problem is, he will be 36 on opening day this season. This is a team that has tried using some prime picks on corners, but they haven’t quite panned out. Josh Robinson and Chris Cook appear to be the heir apparents to start at each CB position, but the Vikings could look to the middle rounds for some more guys. They need to force more turnovers.
4. Offensive Guard
The Vikings could definitely look to this position in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Vikings have to wonder if they can’t upgrade from Charlie Johnson or Brandon Fusco if a guy like Johnathan Cooper, Chance Warmack, or Larry Warford falls into their laps in the later portion of the first round. This team’s bread and butter is running the football, so adding some nasty offensive linemen seems like a wise move. Still, their guys up front played well in 2012, so they may not look to upgrade.
5. Defensive Tackle
Kevin Williams is still very good, and the Vikings are seemingly always well-coached on the defensive line, but this is an area of the team where you always look to upgrade, and they could generate a little more pass rush from the interior. This is a team with a great edge rush already, and adding some interior pressure could be deadly for opponents.