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After all the signings during the first wave of free agency, where do you see the Vikings going in the draft? It seems like they may be banking on an offensive lineman with the lack of signing a solid left tackle and letting Riley Reiff go. It makes me nervous though because Zim' being Zim', he will want to draft defense. Thanks!
— Marcus Dalbec from Winsted, Minnesota
I and many other Vikings fans feel as though we really need to improve our offensive line to make a real push this season. What is the plan in that area?
— Tyler in Minneapolis
We'll start off by combining these questions from Marcus and Tyler, both of whom have concerns about the Vikings offensive line heading into the final week of March.
To be fair, both of these questions landed in the inbox before the Vikings announced a trade for interior offensive lineman Mason Cole on Thursday afternoon.
At the minimum, Cole should provide depth at guard and center behind Garrett Bradbury and whomever starts at left guard. But there's also a chance that the 2018 third-round pick battles for, and wins, a starting guard spot.
To me, it was a relatively low-risk move for the Vikings. Arizona recently traded for three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson, so Cole was available for a sixth-round pick. I know Vikings GM Rick Spielman covets his late-round picks, but a solid depth piece like Cole is likely better (and more immediate help) than a lineman the team could have gotten late in the sixth round.
But with that in mind, what's next for the Vikings?
Well, there's no question the Vikings have placed a premium focus on defense with the additions of cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, plus defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
If you're looking for positions to watch over the next month or so, I'd put the offensive line and defensive end at the top of the list.
The Vikings are still trying to sort out their offensive line, but the good news is that they still have plenty of time to do so. Perhaps a star offensive lineman at No. 14 helps solves that puzzle, along with a promising pass rusher on Day 2.
We're still four-plus weeks from the 2021 NFL Draft, and lots can happen between now and then.
OK, we addressed a lot in free agency, so I can see a top WR at pick 14. Should we take him or not?
— Warren W.
Warren's projected scenario didn't mention a specific WR prospect, but for the sake of this Mailbag, let's assume that any of the consensus top trio of Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are still there at No. 14.
Would the Vikings take one of them? I wouldn't give it high odds, but I also wouldn't bet against it.
As we mentioned above, nearly all of the Vikings focus in free agency has been on the defense. But getting a first-round talent to be your No. 3 wide receiver behind Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson would seem like a home run to me.
That rookie wide receiver wouldn't be expected to light it up like Jefferson did in 2020, but he could come along at his own pace and also give new Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak an added asset in the passing game.
And while I do like the idea of surrounding Kirk Cousins with more playmakers, he'll need protection in order to get them the ball. So while it's fun to dream of this scenario, my guess is that if the Vikings find themselves here, they might be able to trade back and still get a first-round offensive lineman, while also possibly adding a second-round pick.
Who gets to wear No. 21 between P2 (Patrick Peterson) and Mike Hughes?
— Jim Akpan
A few fans asked the same question as Jim, but unfortunately, I do not have an answer at the moment.
Hughes still officially has No. 21, a number that Peterson has worn for all 10 seasons of his decorated career so far. Peterson, who was one of the reasons Hughes wanted No. 21 with the Vikings back in 2018, currently doesn't have a number on the roster page on Vikings.com.
If Peterson is set on wearing that number, perhaps the two work out some sort of agreement that helps out Hughes' wallet. For reference, here's a funny tweet Jalyn Holmes posted after the Vikings traded for Yannick Ngakoue and he wanted to wear No. 91, which Holmes had at the time.
Peterson said in his introductory press conference that he is friends with Hughes, so check back on this in the coming months.
I don't know if the Vikings have spoken with Cordarrelle Patterson, but if they haven't, why wouldn't they? Our kick return game has laxed ever since Patterson was let go. I wouldn't expect it'd be a big financial hit, especially since he's still on the market but wouldn't you think his presence improves special teams? Along with returning kicks, he's been a good gunner and he's one of those 'flash' players.
— Dan Henry
Why haven't the Vikings considered bringing Cordarrelle Patterson back on the team? He is a four-time Pro Bowler and can be used as a running back, slot receiver and in special teams on kickoffs, kick return and punt returns. Special teams has been a struggle with the Vikings, and this would add some much-needed depth in that area. He wants to be back in Minnesota, seems like a common sense move.
— Corey Alexander in Richmond, Virginia
Both Dan and Corey are curious about the status the former Vikings kick returner, who is one of the all-time best in league history in that role.
There is plenty of familiarity between the Vikings and Patterson, who was a first-round pick by Minnesota back in 2013.
He would undoubtedly provide a boost to Minnesota's special teams, which was rather sluggish in 2020. New Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken knows Patterson well from his four-year stint in Purple, and Patterson has seemingly evolved as an offensive threat in recent seasons.
Patterson is currently tied for the all-time NFL lead with eight kickoff returns for touchdowns. How awesome would it be if he comes back and breaks the record with the Vikings?
Of course, finances likely have a lot to do with moves like this. But this could be a fun reunion if it develops. We'll keep an eye on this one in the coming weeks.