Vikings season a success, but there is much work to do - KMSP-TV

Vikings

Vikings season a success, but there is much work to do

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Yes the Vikings made the playoffs this season. Yes the team improved on their 3-13 record from a year earlier and yes there is plenty of positives at Winter Park.

But, there are still plenty of holes to fill and work to do.

The team was blown out from the opening kickoff in their postseason trek to Lambeau field. Every season the NFL has teams that jump up and surprise everyone and this year the Vikings were one of those teams. If the franchise wants to continue to be a playoff team, they will need to re-tool their roster. This offseason is arguably the biggest in recent history because this team is close to being a major factor. The team has a limited window with the best running back in the league and general manager Rick Spielman needs a repeat performance of his draft last year and unlike free-agency a year ago, he needs to hit three homeruns in the free agent market.

Quarterback:

Christian Ponder and McLeod Bethel Thompson will make the team next season. The Vikings let Sage Rosenfels go to keep MBT so they definitely see something in him. They gambled and lost when it came to their back-up. Joe Webb looked completely overmatched in the playoff game against Green Bay when forced into emergency back-up duty, but when you are a number two quarterback, it is your job to be ready to lead the team. He didn't, and has enough of a track record to show he can't.

Free Agent: The team needs a veteran to push Ponder in camp. While Ponder led the team to a 10 win season, his slide in the middle and the play of Peterson led many to ask if he is capable of leading a team with his arm. The jury is still out and a solid veteran is needed to help the young Ponder as he continues to grow. A vet quarterback is a must and not of the home run variety as mentioned above.

Wide Receiver:

There is a scenario where the only receiver from this year's roster wearing a Vikings uniform next season is Jarius Wright. Figuring out Percy Harvin will be the number one talker this off-season, but none of the remainder of the roster will be back. Jerome Simpson was a complete bust after being billed as the downfield threat. Devin Aromashodu is nondescript and Michael Jenkins is due a large roster bonus in March and will likely be released before the team has to pony up and pay.

Free Agent: The top priority for this team is to in one way or another figure out Harvin. Trade him or extend his contract, but something needs to be done. He is too talented and too big of a chip for the team to lost him without any compensation if he doesn't want to be here. Regardless how this team moves with Harvin, they still need another number one receiver that can get open and get downfield. Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace are both big targets but also come with baggage, Danny Amendola is a name thrown out as well.

The team needs a home run here.

Linebacker:

Both Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson are free agents and will both likely be gone. Neither made the splash plays needed at the position. Chad Greenway is the best backer on the team but needs some help and will likely address the linebackers through both free agency as well as the draft. This position is probably tied for first in need with wide receiver.

Free Agent/Draft: Love Philip Wheeler currently in Oakland. Played all 16 games for the Raiders and recorded 109 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. There are others, but Wheeler, in his 5th season could fit well and be cap friendly. Anthony Spencer's name will come up, but the current Cowboy will most likely break the bank.

The team needs a home run here.

Defensive Back:

The secondary played better toward the end of the year, but when Antoine Winfield went out with injury in the regular season finale, Aaron Rodgers picked them apart. With Winfield in the twilight of his career, the team needs a solid veteran to bookend Chris Cook and rookie Josh Robinson.

Free Agent/Draft: Atlanta's Frank Grimes has had a difficult time staying on the field, but with that in mind he is a ball hawking corner. He registered a combined 11 interceptions during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

The team needs a home run here.

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