The Minnesota Vikings are poised to return to the postseason after rehauling the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, the team’s newest concern is the lack of depth at safety, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay claims.
Here’s his assessment of the Vikings’ “biggest flaw” after the draft:
The Vikings had some major needs along their offensive line going into the draft, but they did great work filling in these gaps on Day 1 and 2. They picked up a tackle in Christian Darrisaw and guard in Wyatt Davis and boosted their slumping pass rush with Patrick Jones II and Janarius Robinson.
However, they didn’t manage to fix their issues at safety in the draft. They found a quality starter next to Harrison Smith in Xavier Woods, but both players will be free agents next year, and the Vikings lack young talent and depth at the position.
A handful of available players could both be developed and rotate in at the position, with safeties like Kavon Frazier and Tre Boston currently unsigned and likely obtainable for cheap.
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Safety Not a Concern in 2021
Kay makes a point that the Vikings do need to consider the future at the safety position. Minnesota is expected to do so by offering an extension to Harrison Smith at some point during this offseason — locking up the All-Pro safety for two or three more years.
Xavier Woods is on an affordable prove-it deal worth up to $2.25 million with the Vikings after the 25-year-old faced scrutiny as a piece of the Dallas Cowboys defense in 2020. Woods could very well earn himself an extension, buying the Vikings time to draft a future top prospect at safety in later drafts.
But beyond the projected starting duo are question marks.
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Depth is Needed
Minnesota has little NFL experience beyond Smith and Woods entering the 2021 season. George Iloka served two separate stints as a veteran presence to the unit, including last season when Iloka filled in for Smith following his ejection against the Houston Texans. Iloka remains unsigned this offseason.
Josh Metellus, a 2020 sixth-round pick out of Michigan, requires more time to develop after playing just 16 snaps on defense a season ago. Myles Dorn was an undrafted rookie who broke his big toe on the final day of training camp and spent the season on the injured reserve list.
The Vikings also drafted Cal defensive back Camryn Bynum in the fourth round of this year’s draft. He played cornerback in college but was drafted as a safety and could contend for a roster spot this season.
Minnesota also brought back Luther Kirk IV, a free-agency add during the 2020 season. None of these players, besides Metellus, have played a snap in the NFL, making the need to bring a veteran safety a high priority with the remaining cap space.