The NFL offseason officially starts Monday, a day after Super Bowl LVI.
But Minnesota already been in that mode for a month, a stretch that has included hiring Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and conducting head coaching interviews.
With the offseason really about to kick into full gear — the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is just over two weeks away — Anthony Treash of analytics site Pro Football Focus took a look at Minnesota’s top needs heading into the coming months.
Treash listed four positions — cornerback, interior offensive line, edge rusher and quarterback — that could be top of mind for the Vikings with free agency and the draft on the horizon.
The new regime in Minnesota has a tall task ahead of it to get the franchise back on the right track. The cornerback room in particular needs a complete overhaul. The Vikings gave up the third-most yards on the outside (1,802) while also tying for the third-fewest plays on the ball at the position (18). None of their cornerbacks had a quality campaign, but Bashaud Breeland — who was waived in mid-December — was the main reason for the outside struggles. His 45.3 coverage grade was the fourth-lowest among qualifying cornerbacks. Slot corner Mackensie Alexander's down season didn't help, either. He finished with the lowest slot coverage grade in the NFL.
Alexander and fellow cornerback Patrick Peterson are scheduled to be free agents in March.
Minnesota could also look to improve at center/right guard and at edge rusher, areas that were inconsistent in 2021.
And the quarterback position is a big storyline as Kirk Cousins has one year left on his current contract and has a cap hit of $45 million in 2022.
Kendricks listed among NFL's most underrated defenders
The 2022 Pro Bowl is in the rearview mirror, but Greg Auman of The Athletic recently posted one final story from the league's annual all-star game.
Auman, who normally covers the Buccaneers, asked 20 Pro Bowlers to answer a handful of league-wide related questions last weekend in Las Vegas.
Among the topics was the league's most underrated defensive players, with Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks getting a vote.
Just one Pro Bowl in seven seasons in Minnesota, but Kendricks set career highs with 143 tackles and five sacks in 2021. He's versatile to help in pass coverage (nine career INTs) and in rushing the passer (14 sacks).
Besides the 2021 stats Auman listed above, Kendricks also had eight tackles for loss, a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery. He started all 15 games he played and was on the field for 1,032 of Minnesota's 1,208 defensive snaps (85.4 percent).
Auman also asked players about their favorite NFL city to travel to. And while five cities each garnered two votes, Minneapolis was one of seven cities that received one tally.
One Pro Bowler picked Minneapolis, calling it "a hidden gem."
Auman's full article can be found here.