Predicting the Vikings Starting Lineup for the 2021-2022 Season
A look into what I think the Vikings lineup will look like next season.
Hopefully, next season the Vikings can find their way to the playoffs so, what will the lineup that brings them to the post season look like?
Quarterback, Kirk Cousins: Cousins had a great year this season that was definitely overlooked because of their poor record and inferior offensive line play. Unless, Minnesota makes a move for Deshaun Watson, then I like Kirk at the helm of the Vikings offense.
Running Back One, Dalvin Cook: As long as he stays healthy, it is a no brainer for Cook staying in the backfield and I don’t think Minnesota intends to get rid of their best player.
Running Back Two, Alexander Mattison: Mattison stepped up big for the Vikings when Cook was hurt and, all though I don’t think he is an RB1, he is a solid second string back.
Fullback, C.J Ham: Ham is a top 5 fullback in the league and is a huge reason why Cook was so successful this season. Awesome run blocker and an underrated threat in the pass game.
Wide Receiver One, Adam Thielen: Thielen was on top of the receiving touchdown category this year and around the goal line is a massive threat. With Justin Jefferson on the other side of the field as him, it will be tough for teams to try to shut down the two outstanding route runners.
Wide Receiver Two, Justin Jefferson: Jefferson had a huge rookie season and him and Thielen could turn into the best pass catching duo in the whole league.
Wide Receiver Three, Ben Skowronek: I think that the Vikings will take Skowronek, the grad transfer out of Notre Dame to be a physical threat to add along the goal line. The Vikings can land him between the 5th and 6th round.
Tight End, Irv Smith Jr.: Kyle Rudolph, it hurts to say it but, he is out. The Vikings will either release him to free up cap space or deal him for a pick any where between the 3rd and 5th round. Irv Smith Jr. is a solid tight end with great athletic ability, somewhat like Evan Engram.
Center, Garrett Bradbury: Bradbury is going into his third season and has been above average while in the NFL. He is a great pass protector and a decent run blocker. He is definitely the best option for Minnesota at center.
Left Guard, Forrest Lamp: Lamp won’t cost a lot of money and if Minnesota cuts Reily Reiff, Lamp can fill the guard position and we can kick Cleveland out to tackle. Lamp is good in the run game and an average pass protector.
Right Guard, Wyatt Davis: If the Vikings hold onto the 14th pick then Davis is a no brainer. He is an immediate plug and play guy that is athletic and physical. O-line is a huge need and Davis could be a giant step in the right direction.
Left Tackle, Ezra Cleveland: The Vikings need to cut Reily Reiff to get rid of his contract and try to get some cap space wiggle room. Cleveland played tackle at Boise State and if he is given the off season to prepare to protect Kirk Cousins blindside, he’ll have a good year.
Right Tackle, Brian O’Neill: O’Neill had his best year this past season and will be looking for a contract extension. He is definitely a priority and will have a huge year next season when facing Khalil Mack and the Smith’s in Green Bay.
Defensive Tackle, Michael Pierce: At 345 pounds, Pierce is a unit in the run game. He opted out due to Covid-19 this season so, getting him on the field in 2021 will be huge to stop teams from gashing us up the middle.
Defensive Tackle, Ifeadi Odenigbo: Ifeadi should make the bump inside to defensive tackle and would be super efficient as a 3 technique where he can pin his ears back on passing downs. He will need to put on about 10-15 pounds to get around 270 pounds but, that is manageable.
Defensive End, Danielle Hunter: Hunter missed this season due to injury but, when he is healthy, he is arguably the leagues most efficient pass rusher. Having him back next season will be a massive boost for the Vikings defense.
Defensive End, Anthony Barr: Barr was more of an edge rusher at UCLA so, bringing him down on the line as and end will definitely make him more efficient and give us a reason to resign him especially, with the solid and young linebacking core that we have.
Outside Linebacker, Troy Dye: The rookie out of Oregon had a decent year this past season. With bumping Barr down to edge rusher, Dye could find a fit, as one of the starting outside linebackers.
Middle Linebacker, Eric Kendricks: Aside from Danielle Hunter, Kendricks is arguably the best player on the Vikings. He is a top linebacker in the whole league and is phenomenal in pass coverage. Minnesota needs to make sure Kendricks never plays for another NFL franchise.
Outside Linebacker, Eric Wilson: Wilson had a breakout season this year and Minnesota needs to lock him up for at least 3 years. He is an awesome fit and like I said with Dye, having Barr bump down to end, Wilson will flourish.
Cornerback, Jeff Gladney: Another huge rookie pick up, Gladney had a tremendous season and has solidified himself as the number one corner for the Vikings for years to come.
Safety, Harrison Smith: If Minnesota ever lets Smith walk, I may cry. He is a Vikings staple and since he entered the league, has been a top 5 safety year after year. His hard hitting in the run game and his coverage ability makes him one of Minnesotas best players.
Safety, Hamsah Nasirildeen: Minnesota should not use their franchise tag on Anthony Harris again and if they let him walk, they can free up a substantial amount of cap room. Nasirildeen would be a great pick in the 3rd round and could plug and play right away.
Cornerback, Mike Hughes: Hughes, as long as he can stay healthy, could be a top 20 corner in the whole league. His quickness and solid coverage ability makes him a solid all around player.
Slot Corner, Cameron Dantzler: Once again, Rick Spielman shows why he is an awesome GM when it comes draft time. Dantzler played really well for not having super high expectations coming into the season and will be awesome in the slot and if Hughes goes down to injuries, he can be the number two corner.
While this lineup maybe young, it does have the chops to make a run at Green Bay to take back the NFC North. They just cant fall into trap games against Detroit and when they play the Bears at home. The Vikings have a fairly difficult schedule with the Rams, Steelers, and Browns coming to Minneapolis and having to go on the road against Arizona and Baltimore.