Vikings cannot afford to select projects in the 2020 NFL Draft

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

In a year where they’re not expected to have much salary cap space, the Minnesota Vikings need to add draft prospects who can provide immediate impact for next season.

With only around $1 million in current salary space, the Minnesota Vikings are not exactly going to be having a spending spree once the NFL’s free agency period kicks off on March 18.

With only 49 players under contract for 2020 though, the Vikings will need to get creative in order to fill their roster up to 90 by the start of training camp. With them having little money to spend this offseason, adding cheap, young talent is more important than it ever has been for Minnesota since Mike Zimmer was hired to be their head coach in 2014.

The Vikings currently have seven selections in this year’s NFL Draft and they are also projected to have at least three more compensatory picks added to their total. So this brings Minnesota’s total selections for the draft to 10.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman typically likes to leave each draft with at least 10 new players, but this year might be different. With Minnesota having less money to spend on free agents, Spielman might try to add at least 12 or 15 new players to the team with draft picks.

The types of players the Vikings go after in this year’s draft is going to be very important as well. Minnesota has added a number of prospects in the past who weren’t exactly ready to take the field during their first year or two on the team, but this needs to be less frequent this time around.

As much as there might be a guy who has a chance to be great in three or four years, the Vikings currently don’t have the time to wait around for someone like that. Especially with their early-round selections, Minnesota needs to draft players who can come in and make an immediate impact for their team next season.

With the Vikings not having a ton of money to spend in free agency to fill roster needs, they’re likely going to be relying on rookies a lot more in 2020. So when they’re building this year’s draft board, prospects with more on-field experience need to be placed toward the top regardless of their ceiling.

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Minnesota is still going to have veterans in a bunch of their most important positions with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Smith. But come next season, the Vikings could be getting more production out their rookie class than they ever have since Zimmer became their head coach.