Is the 2014 NFL Draft here already? Sorry, we’re just a few days away but in the meantime I’ll help you navigate which draft needs rivals of the Chicago Bears, our NFC North friends. Put down your selfish Bears caps for a few minutes, take a look at what the opponent will be aiming for in the draft.
Minnesota Vikings: After a much disappointing 2013 season, the Vikings front office must be scratching their heads figuring out which position to attack first. I don’t think the draft has enough players to really elevate this team to the playoffs, but that’s also dependent on a lot of things. There are a lot of positions that need help. Let’s start with the most obvious:
QUARTERBACK. With the No. 8 overall pick, it’s been clear by scouts that the Vikings will likely utilize that pick on a quarterback. This is general manager Rick Spielman’s shot at nailing a franchise quarterback. But, which is the right to choose? That’s been the debate of this draft. I don’t think Johnny Manziel is Norv Turner’s ideal quarterback, if he’s still here. The best fit for Turner is UCF quarterback Blake Bortles. He has a very similar playing style to Blake Bortles, but needs to be shaped and a student under Matt Cassel for awhile. Sure Adrian Peterson led them to a playoff berth two seasons back, but they won’t continue to establish success without a QB leading the way.
DEFENSIVE BACK. Being a defensive back in the NFC North isn’t easy, especially when you’re on the Vikings, as they were 31st in pass defense this season. In a single season, a Vikings DB must face Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Calvin Johnson, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson…twice. The addition of former Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn will definitely help, but one solid defensive back will not fix your problems. Since the Vikings have the No. 8 pick in the 2nd-round (pick No. 40), they will still be able to get a quality prospect like Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. This team can’t afford to go through this draft without addressing this position. I predict they take one safety and one cornerback.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN. The Vikings let go one of their marquee franchise players in the offseason in defensive end Jared Allen. That’s one big hole to fill. I know a lot of scouts are saying the Vikings should take a defensive tackle, but they got to give Sharrif Floyd one more year. So pick up a defensive end to try and fill the void maybe in the 4th round.
LINEBACKER. Minnesota needs a heart to their defense, and I don’t mean Chad Greenway because he can’t do this by himself. If the Vikings don’t fall in love with a QB at the No. 8 overall pick, I could see them taking Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley. He’s dynamic, speedy, and extremely intelligent but has questions of durability. If the Vikings take a QB in the first round, look for them to maybe even take two linebackers. BYU’s Kyle Van Noy is a great 2nd/3rd round linebacker, Florida State’s Telvin Smith…or maybe even Illinois’ Jonathan Brown would help the team.
OFFENSIVE GUARD. Not a high priority on their list, but there were glaring concerns with the offensive line this season. The line wasn’t exactly giving Vikings quarterbacks a lot of time or lanes for Adrian Peterson to run through. Other positions are a higher necessity, but guard is a position they need to consider for the future of their new QB.
From the Bears fan perspective:
-Root for the Vikings to pick Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley with the No. 8 overall selection. And, hope that Johnny Manziel doesn’t fall that far in the first round. I’d rather see the Vikings take a Mosley than have to predict the unknown with Manziel or have to face a solid franchise QB for the next 10 years. Better yet, let the Vikings waste a pick on Teddy Bridgewater, who has ‘bust’ writing across his face.
-Pay attention to the defensive backs they draft. Root for a small cornerback or one that isn’t amazing against tall wide receivers. Munnerlyn may be able to cover Marshall, but Jeffery ripped them to shreds last season. I’d like to continue that tradition.
My take: There may be just too many needs for the Vikings to cover. Once the Bears get their defensive tackle, handling Adrian Peterson will be an easier task. The only unpredictability is in the quarterback position which is what any NFC North fan should be keeping a close eye on.