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Vikings Five Needs as Pointed Out by Scouts Inc.

Defensive end — The Vikings have a solid defensive line that is excellent at stopping the run, but is somewhat average pressuring the quarterback. Both defensive ends, Kenechi Udeze and Ray Edwards, are good players, but neither is an impact pass-rusher. The Vikings have been marginal at defending the pass and a talented pass-rusher would go a long way toward improving this area. Both backups are free agents and are not particularly talented edge-rushers. The Vikings often had to use blitz packages to pressure the quarterback and new blood will likely be pursued by the front office.

Safety — Minnesota’s defense was excellent versus the run, but marginal stopping the pass. The safety position has been a concern because the middle of the field was often exploited in critical situations. Eleven-year veteran Darren Sharper has been solid, but clearly has diminishing skills. Dwight Smith, starting opposite Sharper, can get outmaneuvered at times because of his lack of height. Both backups, Michael Doss and Tank Williams, are free agents and have holes in their game. Minnesota’s front office has to address this position either in free agency or the draft.

Wide receiver
— Minnesota’s passing attack has been less than impressive over the past few seasons. Many would point to the Vikings’ young quarterback as the main problem, but clearly the receiver position needs to be addressed. The Vikings were second-worst in the league in touchdowns through the air and they don’t appear to have an explosive perimeter receiver. Five-year veteran Bobby Wade has been solid, but he has never been an explosive downfield target. Both Troy Williamson and Sidney Rice have deep speed, but they need route refinement and more consistency in their games.

— The Vikings’ front office has to make some tough decisions regarding the quarterback position. Should they acquire an experienced quarterback through free agency, or continue to let Tarvaris Jackson learn on the job? Jackson was very erratic in his first season as a starter. The Vikings’ current backups are clearly not the answer. The Vikings have an outstanding ground attack, but are one-dimensional on offense. It appears that an effective passing game could put them in the postseason next year.

Tight end
— Both Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser are good players with a great combination of size and athleticism, but they are not dangerous receiving threats. For the Vikings to move forward on offense, they need to acquire an effective blocker who can also stretch the field as a receiver. If the Vikings can acquire a versatile tight end, they can expand their offense and keep defenses from loading up against their impressive ground assault.

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