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Lunchbreak: Cronin Lists Vikings Biggest 2022 Offseason Priority

The Vikings are in their second week of the offseason, and are busy conducting interviews for two of the biggest roles — general manager and head coach — in the organization.

Minnesota's list of general manager interviews can be found here, while Nathaniel Hackett is the only completed interview on the head coaching side, with more to come.

ESPN recently looked at each NFL franchise and tasked its reporters who cover those 32 respective teams with picking out the top offseason priority heading into 2022.

Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin went with two logical (and pressing) priorities in that Minnesota first needs to make hires at general manager and head coach before they can address the roster, free agency or the draft.

Cronin wrote:

The Vikings can't make any decisions on quarterback Kirk Cousins' future or how they're going to build on defense until those positions are filled. … This isn't a franchise that rebuilds its highest forms of leadership all that often (Mike Zimmer was in Minnesota for eight years, Rick Spielman for 16). It's critical that Minnesota finds two leaders whose philosophy, communication styles and ability bridge the gap for a team that feels close to being competitive after losing eight games by one score.

Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said earlier this month that the general manager position likely would be filled first, and that person would have some input on helping select the Vikings next head coach.

Minnesota is one of four teams — along with Chicago, Las Vegas and the New York Giants — that have general manager openings.

The Vikings are one of eight teams who currently do not have a permanent head coach, a list that includes the Bears, Broncos, Giants, Texans, Jaguars and Dolphins. Rich Bisaccia was the Raiders interim head coach for 12 games and helped Las Vegas to a playoff berth.

As for the other teams around the NFC North, here is what those reporters selected as the top offseason priorities for those teams:

Chicago: Hire the right coach.

Detroit: Add playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Green Bay: Find clarity at quarterback.

The full list for all 32 NFL teams can be found here.

Coller highlights strengths of 2022 Vikings

The Vikings are in transition mode.

Minnesota has interviewed six candidates for its vacant general manager job, while only one interview has been completed for the head coaching opening, although more interviews for both jobs are coming.

Mathew Coller of Purple Insider recently looked at the state of the Vikings and what each role, specifically the general manager, will be inheriting when they take the job.

Coller opined that Minnesota's new general manager will likely have a say in both the next head coach and can offer input on the future at the quarterback position, but that they are also inheriting an offense that features plenty of promising players.

Coller wrote:

The NFL draft has not always been kind to the Vikings in recent years but the hits on the offensive side of the ball give the future GM a bevy of talent to work with. That starts with Justin Jefferson.

Over his first two seasons, the first-rounder out of LSU has totaled nearly 200 catches and over 3,000 yards receiving. Those aren't fool's gold stats, either. By PFF's grading system, he's ranked as the third best receiver in the NFL in back-to-back years. He's at least locked into the Vikings as their top receiver at an extremely reasonable price for two more years of his rookie contract, allowing some cap flexibility as elite receivers start to approach QB prices around the league.

On the other side, Adam Thielen still put together a strong season with 10 touchdowns and a 130.9 QB rating when targeted. There has been some speculation about his future with a $16.9 million cap hit, but he is still very effective.

Coller also wrote that the Vikings seem set at the tackle position, too.

Right tackle Brian O'Neill is 26 years and just signed a contract through 2026 last offseason. He allowed only one sack this season. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw is coming off a rookie year in which he showed promise toward being an above average-to-very good cornerstone.

Coller also mentioned Dalvin Cook, K.J. Osborn, Ezra Cleveland, Kene Nwangwu and Ihmir Smith-Marsette as other notable names on offense.

Coller also mentioned a strong ownership group in the Wilf family as an obvious plus for the incoming GM.

He also wrote about some potential negatives that person will inherit, which includes limited cap space and draft capital. Minnesota currently has eight picks in the 2022 NFL draft.

A defense that might need rebuilding was also on Coller's list of cons.

Coller's full article on the current strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings can be found here.