The Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl hopeful season ended abruptly for them in 2018. They were in a Super Bowl or bust mode after signing their $84 million man, Kirk Cousins. That was quickly stifled and some glaring issues showed. The Vikings hold the 18th pick in the draft this year. Here are a few areas to fill, along with some names that the Vikings could look at with their first-round pick. The Vikings 2019 NFL Draft will be very important to get back on track next year.
The most clear-cut issue for the Vikings heading into the off-season is the need for an improved offensive line. The line for Minnesota surrendered a league-high 227 pressures this season. They also ranked 27th in pass blocking and 25th in run blocking. All of which are recipes for disaster. The Vikings may be able to address this need in free agency. Even though this year’s offensive line free agents do not stand out by any means. They need to find a way to protect their 84 million dollar quarterback.
The chances that big-name offensive tackles such as Jonah Williams and Greg Little are off the board at 18 are very high. It’s unlikely Rick Spielman jumps up in the draft this year as well. This means the Vikings will stay put with their current pick and settle for what falls to them in what is a fairly deep offensive line class. Cody Ford is a hybrid type of offensive tackle. In 2018, he played all 14 of Oklahoma’s games at right tackle. He was part of the first team All-Big XII selection by coaches around the league. He was also part of an offensive line that won the Joe Moore award. In 2017, Ford played in 12 games where most of his time was spent at left guard. He suffered a broken fibula in 2016. This injury held him out of the early part of the 2017 season. Ford’s pass-blocking ability is among the tops in the draft this year. His balance is astounding and he is very athletic. His run blocking is very stout as well. He takes great angles and simply mauls opposing defenders. He is someone the Vikings will be happy to have at 18.
Another need the Vikings will look to address is a third pass-catching option. It’s time to put the Laquon Treadwell experiment to rest and get some new blood in there that can take some pressure off the Vikings two stars, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Treadwell concluded his third season with yet another lackluster outing. Through his three years, he has a total of one touchdown, which came this year in Week Two against the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings also sprinkled in Aldrick Robinson who showed a few flashes as a deep threat, and undrafted rookie Chad Beebe showed his route-running and catching ability as well.
There are quite a few routes I think the Vikings could go at 18 if they want to draft an outside receiver to pair with their two stars. N’Keal Harry is a name that comes to mind, as well as Kelvin Harmon. But I believe D.K. Metcalf is the way to go. Let me get this out of the way quick. We all know the Vikings are desperate for offensive line help. But in reality, consistency is what helps linemen. The same coordinators and the same personnel may be what this line needs all in all. Which is why I think the Vikings could go with Metcalf.
He was a 4-star recruit coming into Ole Miss and red-shirted as a freshman. His red-shirt freshman year in 2017, Metcalf was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team by coaches. He is very polished for a receiver that just turned 21 years old. He’s a guy who wins his routes with great hand and footwork. He has great acceleration for his size and quickly can snap out of his breaks. His ability to win contested balls and go up and get it at its high point separates him from many wide receivers in this class. His run after catch speed and acceleration is very rare for a guy his size. He also blocks as well as his body size says he should. All traits that the Vikings are desperate for.
The last need for the Vikings I will bring up is the outside linebacker position. Anthony Barr has been very solid for the team, but he’s an unrestricted free agent heading into the off-season. Ben Gedeon has been average in base packages. Eric Wilson was a guy that filled in nicely when Barr was injured. Neither Gedeon nor Wilson have the raw ability to replace Barr assuming the Vikings allow him to walk. That means Minnesota could turn to the early part of the 2019 draft to fill this void.
Josh Allen has had an outstanding college career that could arguably land him in one of the top 10 picks in this years NFL draft. There are a few reasons why I believe he will fall to Minnesota at 18. One is that he is not that true edge rusher that a lot of teams ahead of the Vikings are looking for. He does possess the ability to put his hand in the dirt and rush, but he has a tough time setting the edge on running plays. He also needs a lot of work on his counter moves when rushing the passer. But he would fit perfectly in Zimmer’s defensive scheme.
Arguably even better than Barr has. Allen is solid in pass coverage which is what he will be tasked to do if the Vikings were to draft him. He has tremendous speed and explosiveness in both the open field and on the edge which will make him lethal on this defense. He’s an unbelievable talent that plays with a high motor at all times. I might be overly optimistic that he falls to 18 for Minnesota, but if he’s there, they could take him over an offensive lineman or wide receiver.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Assessing Who Should Be the Minnesota Vikings 2019 First-Round Draft Pick