2020 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings preview
Minnesota Vikings draft capsule
TEAM DRAFT NEEDS
Trading Stefon Diggs leaves the Vikings with Adam Thielen at No. 1. Tajae Sharpe came on board to compete with a bunch of underdogs for No. 2.
Xavier Rhodes played his way right out of Minnesota last season. There's no doubt the Vikings believe in 2018 first-rounder Mike Hughes, but this scheme demands lockdown coverage from all corners. A trusted No. 2 is a high priority.
Right defensive end and weak-side linebacker are positions head coach Mike Zimmer puts plenty of pressure on. Losing Everson Griffen likely means a rookie will play one or both spots.
Brian O'Neill, drafted in the second round in 2018, is purely a right tackle. Riley Reiff turns 32 in December and is not equipped to mirror speed for much longer, a risk in a division that craves quarterback contact.
Using the franchise tag on Anthony Harris buys the Vikings a year if they don't want to invest in this position. Harrison Smith will be 32 in February with a $10.25 million cap number in 2021.
Michael Pierce was signed away from the Ravens to play nose tackle. Zimmer is still searching for his high-impact interior rusher — in the mold of Cincinnati Bengals three-technique Geno Atkins, Zimmer's former pupil — for a defense that wants to avoid blitzing.
Five-year draft history
The Vikings' draft record is terrific, with a combination of stars, solid starters and late-round finds. The 2015 draft was about as good as you could ask for, delivering three stars in Eric Kendricks (second round), Danielle Hunter (third) and Stefon Diggs (fifth). Minnesota has generally been very sharp in the first two rounds, with the only exceptions coming in 2016 with Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander. The middle rounds have been less fruitful since 2015, but the Vikings have shown an impressive ability to find contributors in Round 7, with Stephen Weatherly and Jayron Kearse in 2016, Ifeadi Odenigbo in 2017 and Olabisi Johnson last year.
Best pick: DE Danielle Hunter, R3 2015 — Hunter was young and raw coming out of LSU, but the Vikings saw talent that could be molded. He has 54.5 sacks and only turned 25 in October.
Worst pick: WR Laquon Treadwell, R1 2016 — Treadwell never became a weapon and then struggled as a role player. He returned to the Vikings after being cut last year but has just 701 career receiving yards in four seasons.
TOTAL OFFENSE…………...353.5 (16th)
TOTAL DEFENSE…………...341.6 (14th)