Let’s Reid between the lines…
Free agency and the draft are just around the corner, and everyone has an opinion on what’s most important for the Vikings. Based on the current roster and the value of various positions, here are Minnesota’s three biggest needs.
This one is obvious. The Vikings front office will never know if Kirk Cousins is worth the money if they can’t protect him in the pocket. Dakota Dozier looked terrible at left guard last season, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll develop further as he nears 30 years old.
At right guard, Ezra Cleveland looked decent, but there are talks of moving him to tackle. Guard needs to be addressed immediately in free agency and/or the draft, as this position affects the entire offensive line’s performance.
Even with Michael Pierce expected to play next year (he opted out in 2020 due to covid concerns), defensive tackle is a very weak position for the Vikings. It’s not the flashiest area of the defensive line, but Minnesota was repeatedly gashed last season by opposing running backs, and they need a new big man to plug up the middle.
Finding a defensive tackle who could also rush the passer would be even better. Mid to late round picks Shamar Stephen and Jalyn Holmes have not been able to do so for the Vikings, so the team needs to bite the bullet and use an earlier pick, or significant money in free agency to solve this problem.
Much to my dismay, Anthony Harris did not put on a resounding performance at safety last season. The Vikings had used the franchise tag to buy time in looking at his worth, and they got a pretty clear answer. With his poor play and the franchise tag expiring, he’s almost certainly headed out the door, so Rick Spielman has work to do in finding a replacement.
There is no one on the roster who can carry their weight alongside safety Harrison Smith, and this position is quietly critical to generating turnovers and preventing big plays on defense. Free agency may yield some experienced options for the Vikings. Some of these options include Marcus Williams (New Orleans), Daniel Sorensen (Kansas City), and Marcus Maye (New York Jets). Whether it’s via free agency or the 2021 draft, Minnesota needs a new safety to pair with Smith.
As it stands, the Minnesota Vikings have many needs. The team does not have the luxury of going after auxiliary players or strengthening already solid positions – they must face and fix their biggest problems.