By The Associated Press
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (14-4)
LAST SEASON: Survived early knee injury to QB Sam Bradford and thrived behind Case Keenum's breakout season, taking advantage of broken collarbone for rival Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to win NFC North for second time in three years on strength of eight-game winning streak. Newcomers Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers bookended improved OL. WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs flourished in OC Pat Shurmur's scheme. "Minneapolis Miracle" throw from Keenum to Diggs on last play of game gave Vikings victory over New Orleans in division round. Coach Mike Zimmer's defense fed off loud home crowds and led NFL with fewest yards and points allowed, but faltered in 38-7 loss at Philadelphia in NFC championship game. That dashed team's dream of becoming unprecedented Super Bowl host, watching Eagles win title on Minnesota's turf two weeks later. Still, 2017 will be considered top-10 season in franchise's title-less history.
THEY NEED: G, T, CB, RB, TE, LB.
THEY DON'T NEED: QB, C, DE, WR.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia; G Connor Williams, Texas; T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame; T Orlando Brown, Oklahoma; CB Josh Jackson, Iowa.
OUTLOOK: With Kirk Cousins new QB after signing record contract in free agency, Vikings focus on upgrading OL overwhelmed by Eagles' pressure in NFC title game. RG Joe Berger has retired, potentially opening starting spot for first-round pick. With Thielen, Diggs and new WR Kendall Wright, plus TE Kyle Rudolph and RB Dalvin Cook returning from knee injury that cut short rookie season, Cousins has plenty of capable targets to throw to. But another field-stretching pass-catching TE could serve new OC John DeFilippo well. Teams can never have enough quality CBs, so using high pick at position would not be surprising for more support behind Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are borderline stars at LB, but depth would help. With Super Bowl window still open for Vikings, one or two immediate starters will be priority.
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