2018 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
With their 2017 season over, it's time for Vikings fans to turn their attention to the draft
The Vikings again had to deal with an injury at the quarterback position in 2017, a formula that typically means a sunk season for most NFL teams. Not so in Minnesota, where Case Keenum took control of the job and let them team on a deep playoff run. But all three of the team's quarterbacks (Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater) are slated for free agency in 2018. Answering their QB dilemma will be the team's biggest challenge this offseason, but what else is on the docket? Let's dive in.
2018 draft picks
- Round 1: Minnesota
- Round 2: Minnesota
- Round 3: Minnesota
- Round 4: None
- Round 5: Minnesota
- Round 6: Minnesota
- Round 7: None
The Vikings sacrificed their fourth-round pick in 2018 in the trade that brought Bradford to Minnesota following the career-threatening injury to Teddy Bridgewater in 2016. The Eagles would later send that pick to Miami for running back Jay Ajayi. Minnesota's seventh-rounder went to Seattle in the preseason deal for cornerback Tramaine Brock.
Biggest offseason needs
- Defensive tackle
Figuring out what to do at quarterback should be priority No. 1 in Minnesota, and re-signing one of their impending free agents figures to be a near certainty, possibly slapping a franchise tag on Case Keenum. Until that happens, consider quarterback a potential need.
On the offensive line, Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers are locked in at tackle while Pat Elflein figures to remain the starter at center, but the Vikings need to find a pair of guards with Joe Berger (unrestricted) and Nick Easton (restricted) heading into free agency. Expect Easton to return and the team to look to the draft to find their final starter on the line.
The Vikings defense is one of the better units in all of football, but one spot that will need attention is at defensive tackle, where Tom Johnson is a free agent and Sharrif Floyd is unlikely to return. At cornerback, the ageless wonder Terrance Newman played more than 500 snaps at a high level for the defense in 2017, and that production will need to be replaced, even if Mackensie Alexander sees a bigger workload; just three cornerbacks are under contract for 2018.
Prospects to watch
Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
White is likely a mid-to-late round quarterback who showcased above-average accuracy and decision-making in Western Kentucky's wide-open offense. With three quarterbacks scheduled to reach free agency, White could be a logical option as a developmental prospect no matter who ends up being retained to start.
If the Vikings draft Price, they can pair him with former Buckeyes teammate Pat Elflein on the interior of their offensive line, and that familiarity could go a long way for Minnesota. Price leaves a little to be desired athletically but is a mauler in the middle.
The Vikings seem to prefer oversized defensive tackles, so at slightly under 6-foot, he may not fit the club's prototype at that position. However, Mike Zimmer is likely to be enamored with Ford's sturdiness against the run and refined hand use as a pass-rusher.
Minnesota could use another cornerback with plus ball skills to play on the outside or in the slot. That can be Williams, a quick-twitch defensive back who gets his hands on the football often. He had five interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 2017.
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