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Lunchbreak: Vikings Could Boost Guard Depth in Offseason

Posted Mar 8, 2018

The Vikings are coming off a 13-3 season in which they won the NFC North, went to the NFC title game and had four different players named as All-Pro selections.

As Minnesota looks to continue to enhance its roster this offseason, Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders took a look at what position could be the Vikings biggest need.

Kacsmar said Minnesota could look to boost its guard depth in the offseason and continue to revamp an improved offensive line.

He wrote:

The Vikings have a very good roster, so we almost went with kicker, as Kai Forbath is a free agent who has missed eight extra points in two years with the team. Then we almost went with quarterback, because this is really one of the most unique situations in NFL history, with three viable Week 1 starters all ready to hit free agency after being on the roster in 2017: Sam BradfordTeddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum. But there's no shortage of options there, and the Vikings are likely to re-sign one of them (or free agent Kirk Cousins) before a hole actually opens up.

So we finally get back to the offensive line, which was the major problem a year ago, but the team helped solve a lot of that issue by adding Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers at tackle, and drafting center Pat Elflein. Still, right guard Joe Berger is a free agent and could retire, leaving an opening in the starting lineup. A right guard won't make or break your team's season, but it is Minnesota's biggest weakness — which is a testament to the strong roster the Vikings have assembled.

The Vikings improved from 32nd to seventh in rushing yards in 2017, and also gave up 11 fewer sacks than in the 2016 campaign.

Krammer: Vikings could add linebacker depth in draft

The 2018 NFL Draft kicks off in exactly seven weeks, so it’s not too early to peek ahead at what position the Vikings could target.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune recently wrote that linebacker could be an area to watch for the Vikings in April.

Krammer wrote:

The Vikings have invested mildly in linebackers since opening with two top picks to begin the Mike Zimmer era. In the three seasons pairing Anthony Barr (2014 first round) and Eric Kendricks (2015 second round), the duo has played 5,381 defensive snaps, which is nearly nine of every 10 plays together. The Vikings’ base defense is really nickel centered around the two linebackers in Kendricks, the three-time leading tackler, and Barr, a three-time Pro Bowler.

So the level of need isn’t catastrophic. The Vikings’ priority with the current group this summer is probable extensions for both Barr and Kendricks as they enter contract seasons in 2018. But could they add to the competition at Ben Gedeon’s weak-side role in the 4-3 base defense? Even as the rookie played 244 snaps last season, a mid-priced veteran addition makes sense to at least bolster depth. Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur is set to become a free agent next week after playing 117 defensive snaps in two seasons.

Kendricks (967) and Barr (923) ranked second and third, respectively, on the Vikings in defensive snaps in 2017.

The Vikings currently hold the 30th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.