Up next in the team needs features for the draft section are the Minnesota Vikings. THN will be filling in all of the needsí pages throughout April, so keep checking back for your favorite (or least-favorite) team.
2005 Results: 9-7 (2nd place NFC North)
2006 Projected Cap Status: $ (as of 03/10/06)
2005 Season Recap: It was a very tough year for the Vikings considering the sizeable hype that they created in the 2005 offseason. Were expectations too high? Did distractions make it impossible for the Vikings to have a successful season? Was the loss of Daunte Culpepper too much to handle for a team that was now without it's previos stars in Culpepper and Randy Moss?
The answer is probably that it was all of those things. Truthfully the Vikings fought hard down the stretch and looked like more of a team with Brad Johnson at quarterback. They owned their division opponents going 5-1 albeit against fairly weak competition. Finishing above .500 was a small victory, but a fourth quarter collapse and tough loss to the Ravens in the second last week of the season left the Vikings on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
Linebacker - There are some good players in the Vikings linebacking corps but are they playing that well? Chad Greenway or DeMeco Ryans could be a good fit.
Cornerback - It was a tough season for Fred Smoot and Antoine Winfield when they were expected to shine. They also lost nickel back Brian Williams in free agency (Jax).
Quarterback - When you replace Daunte Culpepper with Brad Johnson, and have Mike McMahon and J.T O'Sullivan in the stable, it would be prudent to see how the top three quarterback situation shakes out. It's not a glaring need but if one of the top three fell that far in the draft, it'd be prudent for the Vikes to look to the future despite the probable lack of impact on 2006.
Running Back - The Vikings have run by committee for a while but they lost Michael Bennett and would love for DeAngelo Williams to still be on the board when they make their first round selection. It might be the best chance for new head coach Brad Childress to add a player that can help right away. Chester Taylor was added so there is no need to reach at the position.
Wide Receiver - Nate Burleson is out, and a very young corps of receivers may see another addition in search of playmakers. Not a top need but should the best player on the Vikings board be a WR at any pick in the first three rounds, they may bite. And with four picks in the first three rounds, it is a possibility.
Free Agency Status: Unrestricted Free Agents: CB Ralph Brown; PK Paul Edinger; QB Shaun Hill; LB Keith Newman; RB Moe Williams; C Cory Withrow.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents: OG Adam Goldberg.
Re-signed: RB Joe Echema (formerly Adimchinobi Echemandu); S Willie Offord; WR Koren Robinson.
Acquired: FB Joey Goodspeed; OG Steve Hutchinson; LB Ben Leber; PK Ryan Longwell; QB Mike McMahon; FB Tony Richardson; DE DeQuincy Scott; RB Chester Taylor; OG Jason Whittle; S Tank Williams.
Players Lost: RB Michael Bennett; WR Nate Burleson; S Corey Chavous; LB Sam Cowart; QB Daunte Culpepper; OG Toniu Fonoti; C Melvin Fowler; DE Lance Johnstone; LB Raonall Smith; CB Brian Williams.