Ways to Improve for 2017

Xavier Rhodes returning an interception against the New York Giants (Photo Credit: nydailynews.com).

Super Bowl LI is approaching, which means the offseason is just around the corner. The Vikings have some holes to fill, along with some questions to answer. The biggest question is what to do with the offensive line, as we all know, but there are other areas to address. As far as the offensive line is concerned, I think it could be addressed in the draft and in free agency. It never hurts to have depth, which would be found in the later rounds of the draft, and free agency could provide a proven veteran to step in while the young guys develop. But an improved line will not automatically help the running game.

There have been some rumors around the team suggesting that Cordarrelle Patterson would be interested in a switch to running back as a way to get more involved in the offense. He has also said that he would take his talents elsewhere if Minnesota doesn’t increase his role. Patterson is set to be a free agent, and a move to running back would make plenty of sense for both sides. Patterson is electric with the ball in his hands, hence the nickname “Flash”. A bruising back should also be given some consideration. The draft offers some big backs that could take the bulk of the carries, but keep in mind that they don’t have a first round pick, and they have plenty of other areas to address in the draft.

If the Vikings want to improve the passing game, regardless of who is playing QB next season, a complementary tight end to pair with Kyle Rudolph could be in the mix. Too many times did we watch Bradford make a check-down pass on third down that did not result in a first down. Defenses were prepared to stop Rudolph after the catch, but adding another receiving tight end to give Bradford another option (or draw attention from Rudy) could open up the offense a little more. This could also allow Rudolph to line up in more spots in the offense. The 2017 draft is loaded with talent at the tight end position, and the Vikings could pursue talents like Evan Engram from Ole Miss and Jake Butt from Michigan. Butt may even slide a bit in the draft due to a knee injury suffered in Michigan’s final game of the season.

On defense, the Vikings are well-set for the future, but some key players may be leaving this offseason. Captain Munnerlyn and Terence Newman have expired contracts, and the team would be smart to bring Munnerlyn back to play the nickel corner. Sharrif Floyd appears to have played his last game with Minnesota in week one of the 2016 season, and Brian Robison will be 34 before the start of the 2017 season. The team will likely look for depth among the defensive line at some point in the offseason, and they also may be looking for a replacement for Chad Greenway.

Looking long-term, Xavier Rhodes could be extended this offseason to tie him to Minnesota for several years. Rhodes broke onto the scene this season with 5 interceptions while also locking down the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham, Jr. If Rhodes can be signed for the future, the secondary appears to be dominant for a long, long time.






About Luke Parrish 10 Articles
I am a college student from central Indiana, but have been following the Vikings my entire life. Follow me on Twitter at @lparrish22