The Minnesota Vikings are in a strange position this year compared to the previous years now that a quarterback isn’t one of the team’s top needs going into the draft. Instead there are a several places that the team can look to to improve the offense or defense of the team with the #11 overall pick.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 needs for the Minnesota Vikings needs according to WalterFootball.com:
- Guard – A starting caliber guard to take the place of Charlie Johnson.
- Linebacker – A middle linebacker to fill Jasper Brinkley’s hole.
- Running Back – In case the team can’t keep Adrian Peterson.
- Cornerback – To start opposite Xavier Rhodes.
- Wide Receiver – (filled – traded for Mike Wallace)
Jan 2, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; IIowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (68) before the start of their game against theTennessee Volunteers in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t have a problem using the #11 draft pick on a guard if there was an elite prospect out there that would be worthy of the pick, but there really isn’t a pure guard in the draft class worthy of that. The best situation for the team at guard is for Iowa G/T Brandon Scherff to fall to them at 11, but that’s very unlikely. Instead, this position will likely have to wait until day 2 or even day 3.
At linebacker, there is a lot of young talent that has shown some flashes in the past. Gerald Hodges and Audie Cole have both been quite impressive at times and could compete for starting roles during the 2015 NFL season. I’d love to see the team get a 3 down middle linebacker, but again, there doesn’t seem to be one that I’d feel comfortable with taking so early. Again, this will be a need addressed later in the draft.
As far as running backs go, Adrian Peterson is still under contract and the Minnesota Vikings used a third round draft pick on Jerick McKinnon just last year. When you sprinkle in Matt Asiata (10 total touchdowns last year), DuJuan Harris, and Joe Banyard, I think the team could wait for a running back.
However, I don’t think the team can hold off on a cornerback. Last year, the undersized Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson got bullied by bigger, more physical wide receivers in the NFC North and the team gave up 26 passing touchdowns compared to just 10 on the ground. The Minnesota Vikings have signed Terence Newman to a one-year deal during free agency, but he’s turning 37 years old in September and is just 5’10”.
Nov 22, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) stands on the field between plays during the1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
This is why the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t look past Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes in the draft. When watching his college tape, it’s easy to draw quite a few similarities to current cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He’s physical, explosive, and plays bigger than his body shows, yet he has the speed to close gaps and isn’t afraid in run support.
Pairing up these two cornerbacks could help the Vikings buy more time for their defensive ends to get to the quarterback and would most likely help bring down that lofty number of passing touchdowns that were scored against Minnesota.
What do you guys think? Is Trae Waynes the right choice for the Minnesota Vikings or do you think the team should be looking at a different prospect with the #11 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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