These are good times for the Minnesota Vikings. Although they have scarcely been mentioned on the national stage for splashy signings, the Vikings have been as active as any team in the NFL when it comes to transactions. Around the rest of the league, it’s not getting a lot of play, but heading into the draft process the Vikings have solidified their roster as well as any team that had as many players potentially heading out the door via free agency.
Since he was officially named general manager in 2012, Rick Spielman has made 39 draft picks, 29 of them – just shy of 75 percent – made a contribution to the Vikings winning the NFC North in 2015.
What the Vikings accomplished is more impressive when broken down by position.
The only running back who could leave was Matt Asiata. He was re-signed.
The receiver corps is appearing more and more to be eyeballing Laquan Treadwell if he falls or if Josh Doctson is available in the first round as the Vikings' projected first-round pick. The team jettisoned Mike Wallace’s morbidly obese contract and hasn’t made a move in that direction since. Is there a reason for that? Get your Thursday night draft popcorn ready.
At tight end, the Vikings re-signed Rhett Ellison and added Brian Leonhardt to push for a roster spot, effectively taking tight end out of draft consideration unless a scout has a love for a specific diamond in the rough that they have to have. However, MyCole Pruitt likely was already that guy.
Offensive line? Fuggetaboutit. Viewed as a front-burner need, the Vikings couldn’t do much more than they have. The re-signed Mike Harris and backup Carter Bykowski, restructured Phil Loadholt’s contract and signed guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith in free agency – both expecting to be starters. The potential competition if the Vikings opt to keep the current O-Street Band together will be insane. As things stand now, the team has three starting right tackles. Who is on the third line of the depth chart?
On the defensive line, the Vikings are keeping the room familiar. The only free agents they had were backups: Justin Trattou and Kenrick Ellis. If they draft a defensive lineman high, both may be fighting for their NFL lives. If not, the room remains largely the same.
At linebacker, the big issue remains with what happens with Chad Greenway. Both of the free-agent signings – Emmanuel Lamur and Travis Lewis – will provide competition if Greenway returns. The fact the Vikings haven’t committed to him yet may signal a draft intention. They say they want him back, but to date that has not happened.
From the outside looking in, the Vikings have only addressed offensive line in the big picture. From those on the inside, they’ve been busier than just about any other NFL team.
Given the numbers, the Zimmer Administration likes what it has and the draft will be interesting simply because they’re currently stockpiling in positions of need and leaving the potential for a big move at any position (other than the obvious need at wide receiver). When you’ve amassed your troops, anything is possible, which could make the Vikings dangerous on draft weekend.