The Vikings’ Top 5 Roster Needs as Draft Month Hits the Calendar

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Based on depth alone, the Vikings’ top roster need is along the defensive line (earlier in the day, Josh Frey listed DL depth at #2 in his piece detailing Vikings roster needs).

Harrison Phillips is returning as the only locked-in starter. After Horrible Harry, there’s a journeyman contributor (Jonathan Bullard), an upside late-round selection (Jaquelin Roy), a bounce-back candidate (Jerry Tillery), and a solid depth piece (Jonah Williams). So, help is needed, a statement that stands even after accounting for some of the ways that edge rushers can soak up snaps along the defensive line.

The Vikings’ Top 5 Roster Needs as April Begins

And while the d-line obviously needs help, the focus from the masses rests on the quarterback position. Losing Kirk Cousins leaves the QB spot in a state of flux, so Vikings fans from Warroad to Spring Grove are looking for an upside option for under center.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) tries to get past Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) to sack quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Before getting there, though, consider the current lay of the land in terms of team need:

1. Defensive Line
2. Quarterback
3. Kicker
4. Offensive Line
5. Receiver

Landing a true franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft blows every other need to smithereens, at least when it comes to importance within the modern NFL. A true top passer has the capacity to mask any number of flaws, as we’ve seen from recent greats like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and, indeed, Patrick Mahomes.

So, if there’s widespread belief within the Vikings’ organization that a QB can become that player, then expect that position to be the priority on Thursday, April 25th. The trade cost will have been worth it and the defensive line will have to figure things out.

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings could play a game right now and put together a pretty good offensive line. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill are a top tackle tandem and that’s what matters most. Garrett Bradbury has taken a step, Ed Ingram is improving, and Blake Brandel could be a solid LG. What’s lacking is depth, so Minnesota seems like a near lock to pickup at least one offensive lineman on Day 3.

Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison will look to prove in 2024 and they form the most formidable receiver tandem in the NFL. Seeing them land somewhere near 3,000 combined receiving yards won’t be surprising if the QB play is strong (a major if).

Finally, kicker.

Greg Joseph is now a Packer. John Parker Romo is holding down the fort as the current K1. Expect Minnesota to challenge Romo by bringing in some competition. Does that happen during the draft or afterwards? Or, perhaps, both?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions place kicker John Parker Romo (24) watches practice during OTAs at Detroit Lions headquarters in Allen Park on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

The 2024 NFL Draft will end on Saturday, April 27th. At that time, the Vikings’ top roster needs will look different, especially upon considering who gets added in undrafted free agency. Plus, the summer months will likely give rise to some free agent additions.

In other words, the roster will continue evolving, so stay tuned.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.