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Minnesota Vikings to Select 23rd in 2016 NFL Draft

The Minnesota Vikings suffered the cruelest of ends to their 2015 season, but there is hope. It begins with the NFL Draft this spring, when teams have the chance to improve their roster with the best talent that the NCAA has to offer. The Vikings have used their most recent first-round picks — top-12 selections in 2014 and 2015 — to build defensively, but may be in a position this offseason to focus on their most pressing offensive needs. After Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings will select 23rd-overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

It was painfully obvious on Sunday that the Vikings have a number of roster holes to fill through free agency and the draft. A porous offensive line struggled to protect Teddy Bridgewater (as they have all year) and a lack of offensive weaponry prevented Minnesota from scoring an offensive touchdown. In frigid conditions, the kicking game also played a major factor in the loss. Punter Jeff Locke averaged just 34.4 yards on five attempts and failed to “spin the laces” out on Blair Walsh’s missed game-winning field goal.

Despite finishing the season at 11-5 and as NFC North champions, the Vikings have a busy offseason ahead of them, filled with important roster decisions and choices to make in the draft. At No. 23 in the first round, which begins April 28, general manager Rick Spielman will have the power to trade, select, or negotiate as he pleases. As Ryan Boser wrote last April, Spielman’s draft tendencies point to a potential trade at that slot:

[quote_center]In three drafts as GM, Spielman has made seven R1 picks. Only one of those was made from an original Vikings draft slot.[/quote_center]

It’s still too early to determine what the Vikings view as their biggest need, but in a class filled with impressive running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen, don’t be surprised if Spielman begins to surround Bridgewater with the weapons he needs on offense.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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16 Comments

  1. Man, Austin…some of you guys can just move on so quickly. I suppose that’s a good thing. Me, not so much. I appreciate you all, and the time and effort put in on my site, even you Mr. Patrick. Yeah, maybe it’s not my site technically, but I was here from day one so…..yeah. Thanks all you guys! But I don’t give a rat’s behind about the draft right now, but I digress.
    This was a very tough loss. Very. Not quite on the level as 2009….or 98′. Not the 75′ hail mary either. Very close to the 87′ NFC Champ…because not many expected us to be as good as we were. We were, and they were wrong, and we almost did what many thought we couldn’t. Dammit! But worse than the final game of the 2003 season, yeah, last play of the season crap….unreal. Today’s loss was un – freakin’ – believable! I feel for Walsh, good guy, good kicker for the most part. But….guess what I just heard? Before today? He was perfect on game winning FG’s……!!!!! YEAH. Believe it. I never bothered to look it up! I don’t want to….because it’s gotta be true. This is what happens to us. I do believe it will end some day, maybe while I’m still alive, maybe not.
    I’m 48 years old, never stepped in the state of Minnesota till about 3 weeks ago. I do remember the last SB we were in. We blocked a punt…then fumbled at their 1 yard line. After that….it was Dandy Don saying- “Nothing fancy.”- As they proceeded to kick our ass by just out playing us. A year earlier, the 1st Viking game I ever saw was the hail mary. (I will not capitalize that) I had just picked the Vikings as my team a few weeks before that. Why? I was a Joe Namath fan to that point. My big brother, trying to be a good sibling, told me I needed to pick another team. As the Jets sucked bad! And Namath was old. We took to the Texas newspaper, looked over the NFL section. The records showed Minnesota was 10 and 0. The best record in the whole league! That was that, my new team! He had already chosen the Cardinals as his team…I looked it up, at that time they were in the midst of a 6 game win streak and were 8-2. So. (To his credit is still a Cards fan, except for the time he tried to become a Colt fan in 77′)
    So! My sister chose Dallas! We lived in Texas…..girls! She is still…damn, I hate the Cowboys!
    Why did I stick with this team?!! Losers in the most crushing way. Maybe it was the purple…maybe the coolest helmets? Maybe both combined? Maybe Fran the man, I’m not sure, that was 40 years ago. Almost to date. A year later was SB 11, as described above. Whatever it was, grabbed me and didn’t let go.
    Really the whole point of this rant is that forty years later I’m still trying to get over a playoff loss that never should’ve happened. And NOW….I’ve not only drug my son into this mess, but my grandson as well. My son’s 1st disappointment was the 2003 thing….followed by the 2009 gut punch! 40 years later….my unsuspecting grandson was introduced to….Viking football! And is the same 8 years old I was in 1975.
    It never should have happened, the hail mary, or Walsh’s miss today. 40 years, same crap. But I have no doubt both my son and grandson will remain Viking fans. 1975, 1987, 1998, 2003, 2009….AND today, 2015. Some very hard to take losses. Pretty much last play of the game losses….
    But I will go to work tomorrow, as will my son. And the grandson will go to school, we will all be wearing Viking colors. It’s what we do. I’m pissed, disappointed, in shock…and a bit buzzed from a couple strong beers. Right now, I’m wearing my purple proud tho. Because, one day….we’ll win it all! And even if I’m not alive then….one of my boys will be! Dammit! And they’ll toast old granddad…with a couple strong beers!

    1. CC!

      Today’s loss hurt and I’m sure it will be beat to death here on the pages of VT during the offseason. While your still wanting to reflect on this painful loss, some people are ready to turn to the better things in the offseason.

      I was just having a conversation with Austin about why our favorite sports team seems destined for painful losses. My only answer is that maybe the universe is taking away so it can give us a historic dynasty that will win multiple Super Bowls some day. (Although, I’d be fine with just one, too).

      Thank you for being such an awesome and loyal fan to the Vikings and to VT – through the good and bad.

    2. You’re a true purple fan, cart, hang in there. We’ve been through plenty of these, and I have still never been more stunned that the first Super Bowl loss, which was inconceivable going into the game. We’ve also had our great Vike moments (NFC Championship wins, Miracle at the Met, playoff wins over Dallas and Packers, etc.). I’m dealing with this by reminding myself we knocked off the Packers for the division title. Yes, they moved on, but for now the division title will have to suffice. Good days ahead with Zimmer in charge. I just hope, like you, that Walsh can find some peace in all of this.

      Be well, my friend. Keep the family cheering the purple!

    3. True fans stay on board through thick and thin CC. I meant it when I told you that I thought that you were a true fan a few weeks ago. I HATE bandwagon fans!! I told you guys about my day with Dave Osborn in ’72 when I was ten, I was a die hard fan already due to my dad’s influence and that day hooked me completely. I have also lived through the debacle in ’75, the D Nelson drop at the goal line against the ‘Skins, the inexplicable decision by Denny to take a knee, the Giants game at Giant’s stadium (91, 92? the Scotty Graham and Jim McMahon year) with the wind so bad no team could put together a drive into the wind until the Vikes did it at the very end of the third quarter and Denny for some reason called a pass play on 2nd and 1, then 3rd and 1, then 4th and 1; thereby stopping the clock instead of running it down so that they would have the wind at their back for the fg if they didn’t pick up the first. I will never forget the ball going through the always reliable Steve Jordan’s hands right above his helmet on 4th down.. then C. Carter fumbled on the Giant’s 20 when fighting for extra yardage after a huge gain.. then the unbelievable Falcons game in ’98, the Farve interception in 09 when he had Shiancoe wide open right in front of him for the first down but somehow just HAD to throw it across the field to Rice.. sigh, sigh, and sigh. I just had a terrible feeling when Adrian fumbled, that following the terrible feeling after a broken play turned into the Hawks only big play of the game. I feel so bad for Walsh right now. I do not blame him. I am still wondering why the Vikes did not just take a knee in the middle or run a play to the right knowing that they weren’t going to go for the first down or td.. Walsh has only had trouble when kicking from the left hash mark, why not plan that into the plan on running down the clock and kicking? But, I will still be cheering for them next year, and the year after, and the year after. Even though Teddy did put together a nice drive with just under 2 minutes to go to get them into position, I am still hoping that they draft Carson Wentz if he is still there when they pick in the first. We can point to a lack of scoring a TD as the cause just as easily as placing all of the blame on Walsh. And at the end of the day, it is still just a game. We are all still drawing breath. We have those that we love in our lives. C’est la vie. It could be worse. We could be Browns fans, or Bills fans, or…..
      Peace all.
      GO VIKES!!

    4. Great comment CCarter.. I’m right there with you since 1968-69 as a Vikings fan and have only been to the state of Minn. Once back in 2000 for business , I love my Vikings and have shed many tears as a young Vikes fan back in the early super bowl days. This loss hurts bad, real bad but the loss to Atlanta was worse simply bc s we were by far the best team in the NFl that year plus Anderson had been perfect on all kicks up until the missed. FG. One day we will will this SB, if I’m alive to enjoy it great if not someone be sure and drink a beverage for me

  2. Wel, now that the frost has settled- What a fabulous year! 11 wins, a great draft class, an emerging Defense and by the end of the year a team that could play with the likes of Arizona, GB and Seattle. And this firsthand look at playoff football is a value added reward for playing so well, hopefully paying dividends for a 23 yr old QB and his young team for years to come. So, as long as they take their Protein Pills, draft well again, they could keep their Helmets on for a couple more weeks next year

      1. I agree guys. Does anyone remember the Vegas line at the beginning of the year? I do, 6 wins!!! Not only did they almost double that they won the division. This defense is just going to get better, Adrian still going strong and I have always liked the drafting of Jerrick Mac. There are many teams that would like to have those two. Back to the d, Waynes is getting better. He and Rhodes could very well be one of the top corner duos in the league. Harrison, Barr, Kendricks, Floyd, Hunter.. holy cow. And they are all so young. Throw in Diggs and Pruitt.. two or three years from now it is possible that draft will be regarded as the best of the 2015 draft. Just an o lineman or two, another safety (who knows, maybe Exam will be that guy by next year), maybe a Julio Jones type at wr.. We could be drinking from the Lombardi trophy in a year or two, that is not an unrealistic hope guys.

        1. Amen luv! I think 12 or more regular season wins is very possible. Get the 1st round bye and see what happens…
          When you have a good defense and a good loud home stadium. That should equal many victories.

  3. I don’t do a good enough job commenting on a regular basis, but thank you guys for all the response and readership throughout the season. It’s awesome that we have a place to converse about all things Vikings, and your passion makes this job a blast.

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