The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is officially underway in Indianapolis, as all 32 NFL teams are ready to begin the up-close evaluation process of more than 300 college draft prospects.
As the Vikings they look to rebound from a frustrating 8-7-1 campaign, ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin offered up a position at which the Vikings could focus on this week.
Cronin opined that Minnesota should look at players who could be options at guard with the 18th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
It's difficult to see the Vikings spending their first-round pick on anything other than an offensive lineman, with their biggest need being on the interior. The free-agent guard market is relatively bleak, so instead of shelling out for a veteran when money is already tight, Minnesota can use the draft to help bolster protection around Kirk Cousins. It also could use multiple high picks to build up the offensive line. Though this year's class of offensive linemen isn't as deep as the group from 2018, the Vikings should have a handful of intriguing prospects to consider at No. 18.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked 40 times in 2018, which tied for 10th-most in the league with Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. Minnesota allowed just 27 sacks the season before.
Minnesota also ranked 30th overall with 93.3 rushing yards per game. The Vikings struggled to find consistency in the run game all year, as they had only five 100-yard games as a team in 2018.
Cronin also noted the Vikings could focus on an edge rusher, defensive tackle and linebacker.
‘Minneapolis Miracle’ appears on list of most memorable games
There’s no doubt that any Vikings fan can recall where they were when Stefon Diggs hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass for a “Minneapolis Miracle” last January in a Divisional Round playoff game against the Saints.
The Athletic website recently compiled a list of journalists describing the best game they ever covered. Larry Holder, a columnist in New Orleans, said his choice was easily the dramatic seesaw battle at U.S. Bank Stadium that ended with a 29-24 Minnesota win.
I still vividly remember standing in the U.S. Bank Stadium press box next to then co-worker Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune with my mouth agape. We watched in bewilderment as Stefon Diggs caught the heave from Case Keenum, Marcus Williams whiffed on the tackle and finally, a sea of purple jerseys engulfed Diggs after he sprinted to the end zone.
Total despair transformed into complete jubilation for a Vikings fan base accustomed to the worst outcome imaginable. Honestly, I still can’t believe the outcome of the Vikings’ 29-24 win over the Saints in the 2018 NFC Divisional playoffs.
And hence, the “Minneapolis Miracle” was born.
Holder wrote he had “never walked into a more astonished locker room after a game” when he encountered Saints players after the conclusion of the game.
The Vikings and Saints also made the list for the 2010 NFC Championship game, which New Orleans won in overtime. Jon Krawczynski, who covers pro sports in Minnesota for The Athletic, listed that game as the most memorable in his mind.