The Vikings 4 Roster Deficiencies at the Moment

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The 2023 NFL Draft is 3.5 weeks away, and the Minnesota Vikings still have the remnants of free agency to scour for roster fortification.

Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), and Irv Smith (TE, Bengals) left the club, while Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), and Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers) joined.

The Vikings 4 Roster Deficiencies at the Moment

The Vikings are considered around the 13th-best team in the NFL at the moment, at least per national power rankings.

These are the team’s roster deficiencies, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most deficient).

4. Wide Receiver

The Vikings 4 Roster
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Group:

  • WR1: Justin Jefferson
  • WR2: K.J. Osborn
  • WR3: Jalen Nailor
  • WR4: Jalen Reagor
  • WR5: Brandon Powell
  • WR6: Blake Proehl
  • WR7: Trishton Jackson

If the Vikings plan to allot tight end T.J Hockenson a Travis Kelce workload in 2023 — and they love Osborn — that group might just do the trick.

Otherwise, the WR section of a depth chart needs a WR2, like Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Zay Flowers (Boston College), or Jordan Addison (USC) in the draft.

3. Interior Defensive Line

Green Bay Packers defensive end Dean Lowry (94) participates in training camp at Ray Nitschke Field, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The Group:

  • DT1: Harrison Phillips
  • DT2: Khyiris Tonga
  • DT3: Dean Lowry
  • DT4: James Lynch
  • DT5: Jonathan Bullard
  • DT6: Ross Blacklock
  • DT7: Kenny Willekes
  • DT8: Esezi Otomewo
  • DT9: Sheldon Day
  • DT10: T.J. Smith

Ten gents for three roster spots, in fact, is not a roster deficiency, but none of those men is a game-wrecker. Perhaps the Vikings, once and for all, want a game-wrecker on the inside of the defensive line instead of telling Danielle Hunter and his best friend to “figure it out.”

And, let’s face it — about 80% of the DT list above could be cut before 53-man roster trimdowns in August, and you wouldn’t be surprised.

Minnesota has ample DT depth, but it’s like owning a lot of common baseball cards with meh value.

2. Off-Ball Linebacker

Keeping Jordan Hicks Is a Smart Move by Vikings
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) against Green Bay Packers during their football game on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. © Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Group:

  • LB1: Brian Asamoah
  • LB2: Jordan Hicks
  • LB3: Troy Reeder
  • LB4: Troy Dye
  • LB5: William Kwenkeu

You might be content with the Vikings linebacking twosome of Jordan Hick and Brian Asamoah, and that’s great. But compared to the rest of the NFL, the duo inspires no fear as of early April.

This is why it wouldn’t be stunning for Adofo-Mensah to select Trenton Simpson (Clemson) or Drew Sanders (Arkansas) in the draft.

1. Cornerback

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Group:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Andrew Booth
  • CB3: Akayleb Evans
  • CB4: Tay Gowan
  • CB5: Kalon Barnes

This situation should keep you, the Vikings fan, up at night. It’s not enough of guaranteed oomph. It’s Byron Murphy + a handful of maybes. Thankfully, the Vikings could still sign Rock Ya-Sin, William Jackson, Shaquill Griffin, etc. from the free-agent wire, but what are they waiting for?

If this group remains as-is, Adofo-Mensah will probably use his first draft pick on a corner. If he doesn’t, is this really it?

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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