Between now and the 2007 NFL Draft, THN will be taking a look at all of the NFL teams' offseason needs. Up next is the team with the seventh overall pick in the draft, the Minnesota Vikings.
2006 Results: 6-10
2007 Projected Cap Status: $77,500,000 or $31,500,000 under the cap
2006 Season Recap:
The Vikings 2006 season started off promising as the team rattled off four wins in its first six contests, under first-year head coach Brad Childress. However, beginning with a 31-6 pasting at the hands of the New England Patriots, the team lost eight of its next 10 games which is how the team finds itself with the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
The defense shares some of the blame for the collapse, but not too much, despite its somewhat jekyll-and-hyde nature. The rushing defense allowed only 61 yards per game, best in the league. The team finished 8th in overall defense but was hobbled by its passing defense which, despite allowing a league-worst 238 yards per game (tied with the Bengals) surrendered only 13 passing touchdowns, third best in the league. The defense was impressive enough that the Pittsburgh Steelers plucked defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin to become their next head coach. The offense, on the other hand, finished 23rd overall, leading the league in penalties (123) and finishing third in turn-overs, despite the disciplined football Childress preached. Quarterback Brad Johnson, returning to the city where he started his impressive career, struggled as the season progressed, eventually being benched in the final two games in favor of rookie Tarvaris Jackson.
1. Wide receiver - Rumors have surfaced suggesting the Vikings would like to bring back mercurial wideout Randy Moss and, while that is unlikely, the team does need a top-flight receiver. The team finished near the top of the league in receptions but had trouble stretching the field and scoring through the air. The team is expected to take Calvin Johnson (if he's still on the board) or Dwayne Jarrett with its first pick.
2. Cornerback - Fred Smoot had a tumultuous season, he was temporarily benched and broke his jaw in a car accident at the end of the season. Opposing teams constantly tested (averaging 37 attempts per game) and beat the Vikings secondary. The team's cap space should allow them to pursue a top-notch DB via free agency.
3. Defensive End - The team was extraordinary against the run but managed only 30 sacks. Starter Erasmus James missed most of the season with a torn ACL and the team will probably replace Kenechi Udeze.