3 Vikings needs the draft can fix and 2 needs free agency can fix in 2023

(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) Xavier Hutchinson
(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) Xavier Hutchinson /
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Minnesota Vikings
Marcus Davenport (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

Vikings can find value on the edge in free agency.

Za’Darius Smith was a brilliant free agent signing last offseason, and his addition to the defense has been as advertised. Despite a quiet pass rush from the defense as a whole, the Vikings are starting to figure out the 3-4 defense with Smith and Danielle Hunter, giving them a dangerous duo for the next couple of years if they stay healthy.

They also have some young guys in the mix from recent drafts, including Patrick Jones II and D.J. Wonnum, who are serviceable as backups. The pass rush needs to get better, and rotating fresh legs is going to help them a lot, especially at the end of a long season.

Rather than using a premium pick at a position with little depth beyond the top of the draft this season, the Vikings should stick to free agency to add veteran rushers that can take some of the load off the stars ahead of them on the depth chart.

I doubt a big-name veteran would want to come to Minnesota and be a backup, so that probably removes a player like Melvin Ingram or Robert Quinn. However, Matthew Ioannidis, Clelin Ferrell, Marcus Davenport, and Ben Banogu could all be in the mix.

They do not need to make some grand splash on the open market, especially with the limited cap resources, but adding an extra veteran to supplement their dynamic duo is something that could drastically improve Minnesota’s defense next season.