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Why The 2020 Vikings Will Be Great

Why The 2020 Vikings Will Be Great

3 biggest needs for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2019 NFL Draft

By: Preet Shah
With the NFL draft concluding a week ago and the offseason bringing about many changes, we now look to the start of the new season that will be filled with many new faces. Here are some of the reasons why I believe that the 2020 iteration of the Vikings have the potential to be great.

Consistency in Coaching
The Vikings had to replace both their offensive coordinator in Kevin Stefanski and their Defensive coordinator in George Edwards. Instead of looking at options outside of the organization for replacements, the Vikings promoted Gary Kubiak to the role of offensive coordinator and Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer to co-defensive coordinator. With the offseason likely being shortened due to the pandemic, the Vikings are in an advantageous position with the new coordinators being familiar with the team and knowing the playbook and players.

Revamped Corners
The Secondary last season was not up to the lofty standards coach Mike Zimmer prides himself on. The offseason has had the greatest impact on the cornerback room as last season's starters Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackinsie Alexander all find themselves in different uniforms. Former first-round pick Mike Hughes returns and is likely to be the team's number 1 corner. Though most have written off Hughes, I believe he is due for a bounce-back year as he spent the previous season attempting to return from an ACL tear he suffered in his rookie season. The Vikings also return with Holton Hill, the talented UDFA from 2 years ago who missed the first 8 weeks of last season due to a suspension. The Vikings added corners Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler, and Harrison Hand to the secondary. Gladney, selected in the first round from TCU, has already called himself the "Perfect pick" for coach Mike Zimmer.  He looks to make a day 1 impact in this young and inexperienced Vikings cornerback room. Juxtaposed to the 5' 10" Gladney is the 6'3" Cameron Dantzler.  Dantzler looks to be the prototypical "Zimmer Corner" being as long and rangy as he is. Though he looks to be a player for the future, he could compete with last year's 7th round pick Kris Boyd to be the 4th corner.

Depth on the D-Line

The Vikings lost 2 veteran leaders along the line with the release of nose tackle Linval Joseph and long time starter and team captain Everson Griffen electing to be a free agent. Though these are monumental losses, it is important to remember the talent the Vikings have on the defensive line. The Vikings retain Danielle Hunter, who has finished both the last 2 seasons with 14.5 sacks. Ifeadi Odenigbo, who in a rotational pass-rushing role finished the season with 7 sacks, will likely fill in Everson Griffen's role opposite Danielle Hunter. The Vikings also added former Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Michael Pierce, who looks to fill in the run-stuffing role that has been left open in the departure of Linval Joseph. The Defensive Line also gained 2 new members in 4th round picks DJ Wonnum and James Lynch. Wonnum was one of the more surprising picks on the part of the Vikings as he lacked production at the college level, only having 14 sacks in his 4 years at South Carolina, what he lacked in production he more than makes up for in measurables being 6'5" and 260 pounds. He has already drawn comparisons to Danielle Hunter with his size and athleticism. He is seen as D-line coach Andre Patterson's next project and will most likely see time as a rotational pass rusher. James Lynch, on the other hand, was super productive at Baylor racking up 13.5 sacks in his final year, He looks to be an effective pass-rushing three-technique that the Vikings have lacked since the departure of Sheldon Richardson. Look for Jalyn Holmes, Jaleel Johnson, and Armon Watts all to step up in the final 53 man roster crunch.

Playmakers Stepping up

In the biggest move of the offseason, the Vikings traded star receiver to Buffalo. Diggs's absence leaves a clear hole in the Vikings receiver room as he led the team in yards in the prolonged absence of Adam Thielen last season.  The Vikings will look to 22nd overall pick Justin Jefferson along with free-agent acquisition Tajae Sharpe and last year's 7th round pick Olabisi Johnson to fill the void left by Diggs. The team will also look for Irv Smith Jr. in his second season to improve on a solid rookie year. The Vikings 2 headed running attack looks of Cook and Mattison look to improve on a spectacular season last year. Kirk Cousins looks to justify his contract extension and silence the doubters he faced last season. I believe the most important thing on this side of the football is continuity as they look to return with a similar playbook while Kirk Cousins seems to get better each year in an offense.