A disastrous 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks this evening exposed all of the Minnnesota Vikings’ problems. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has a lot of work to do come the offseason if his team is going to compete again in the coming years, whether he keeps his position as GM or not.
Making a splash in free agency needs to be at the top of Spielman’s to do list in the offseason. The Vikings rank 29th in the NFL in points allowed, and most of the blame can be given to the secondary as Minnesota has basically nothing besides Harrison Smith. Guys like Josh Robinson, Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo are guys that could be replaced by any competent defensive back available in free agency.
The Vikings could also use a little help up front. Kevin Williams is getting slower and will soon retire, and the Vikings will more than likely lose unrestricted free agent Jared Allen in the offseason. You may disagree, but Allen wants to win a Super Bowl as much as anyone else and Minnesota is likely not the place to accomplish that feat in the foreseeable future. Spielman needs to continue the trend of the Vikings having a great pass rush. There will be free agents or trade opportunities available to acquire a few new additions on the defensive line.
The offensive line has also been horrendous all season. Minnesota can find some affordable options to bolster that line. The only guy that should keep his job is Matt Kalil; the rest of the line has been awful and needs to be replaced. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings use their mid/late-round draft picks to acquire new young faces on the line.
Cap space is not going to be a huge issue for the Vikings, especially if they drop Allen and Williams who are among the team’s highest paid players. Going big in free agency is a necessity if the Vikings are going to be relevant in the future.
The 2014 draft will mean everything for the Vikings. The team has ultimate flexibility in choosing which route to take in the draft. The golden rule for drafting is simple: Select the best available player. If the Vikings end up with a top three draft selection, they need to choose the best available quarterback in my opinion. Spielman needs to closely evaluate guys like Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota if a t0p selection is for the Vikings.
Let’s say the Vikings end up winning a few more games and end up with a top ten selection. They then need to select the best available player. In 2011, they took a gamble on Christian Ponder, and it looks like that backfired, though Ponder is still young. Last year’s draft was excellent. Spielman needs to continue that trend.
The management has made some questionable moves this season. Spielman signed Josh Freeman to a one-year $3 million contract and the guy has only played one game. The choice to keep Leslie Frazier and his staff in charge of the team has also been baffling. Let’s hope Spielman also brings in a new coaching staff with experience to lead the Vikings next season.
In a couple years, the Vikings will have a new stadium, but if they are terrible, who’s going to waste time to show up and watch the team play? Look at the Minnesota Twins for reference. The Vikings management needs to get their stuff together and put a winning team on the field before fans completely lose interest.
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