How Vikings can have perfect 2020 NFL Draft in four steps, starting with a new No. 1 CB in the first round

No two NFL teams tend to have the exact same draft-day needs — unless, of course, their one and only top priority is adding a franchise quarterback. But that just means there are often 32 different perfect scenarios when it comes time to infuse rosters with rookie talent. In the case of the Minnesota Vikings, cornerback and wide receiver should rank pretty highly on their 2020 wish list.

As we approach the 2020 NFL Draft, here are four steps the Vikings can take in order to have their perfect draft:

Step 1: Leave the first round with a cornerback

The Vikings pick twice on the opening night of the draft, first at No. 22, then again at No. 25, thanks to their trade of Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. But it would behoove them to come away from Thursday night with at least one guy to plug in on the outside. 

See, cornerback isn’t just a need for them; it’s the need. You may believe Mike Hughes and Holton Hill are ready for full-time jobs, but even the strongest belief in them shouldn’t preclude Rick Spielman from adding a potential starter. Hughes has missed 12 games in two years and is coming off a season-ending neck injury, and Hill has half as many suspensions as he does starts. It doesn’t particularly matter whether Minnesota ends up with Jaylon Johnson (Utah), Jeff Gladney (TCU), Trevon Diggs (Alabama) or Kristian Fulton (LSU), so long as they get somebody to develop in the wake of Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes all heading elsewhere.

Step 2: Don’t rush to add a wide receiver

Countless mock drafts have Minnesota using one of its first two picks on a wideout, and that’s not crazy considering the Vikings just traded away one of the NFL’s most explosive pass catchers. But there are a few reasons Spielman shouldn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed into adding a WR early, specifically with one of the Vikings’ first-round selections.

Reason No. 1 is the depth of this class. If the Vikings want to use No. 22 and/or No. 25 on a guy like Tee Higgins or Denzel Mims, they can be our guest. Those wouldn’t necessarily be bad picks. But when you’ve got other quality prospects right around the corner? Who’s to say one of K.J. Hamler, Michael Pittman Jr., Jalen Reagor or Laviska Shenault won’t be around when they’re up in the second, at No. 58? Spielman is capable of moving up in Round Two if he needs to.

Reason No. 2, and perhaps the bigger reason: The Vikings are increasingly built around the ground game. Now, does that mean they should neglect WR and just hope Tajae Sharpe scares defenses like Diggs did? Absolutely not. But Minnesota was probably, at least in part, willing to part ways with Diggs because it knows something else is the future: Pounding the rock with Dalvin Cook and letting Kirk Cousins feast in the mid-area, play-action game.

Step 3: Get at least one starting-caliber offensive lineman

We say this just about every year, but it holds true: The Vikings could use more depth up front. Whether it’s a guard or a tackle doesn’t matter as much as Minnesota simply adding competition in the trenches. The team wants to win up front, grinding the ball and then setting up play-action, so it needs all the help it can get along the line.

Crazy as it sounds, that means a potential future starting tackle like Josh Jones or Austin Jackson should not be out of play when the Vikings pick at No. 22 or No. 25, assuming they’re still on the board. Cousins is already locked up beyond 2020, so you might as well ensure he’s kept upright in a division with some fearsome pass rushers.

Step 4: Add a pass rusher or two

Everson Griffen’s departure in free agency might be the most overlooked part of the Vikings’ offseason. Minnesota fans, of course, are well aware of the void he’s left opposite Danielle Hunter up front. But on a national level, we’re probably underselling the team’s need for another quality, developmental pass rusher.

Hunter alone is a force to be reckoned with, but Griffen was as steady as they come, and reserve Stephen Weatherly is also gone. The Vikings shouldn’t force a pick at defensive end, especially considering the talent level drops off quite a bit after LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, but if it’s Round 2 or 3 and there’s a guy Zimmer really likes, they shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

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