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Vikings' free agency, draft shopping list

As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Minnesota Vikings must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 8-8 record from last season.

The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Vikings' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

One way or another, the hammer will drop soon on running back Adrian Peterson. On the roster, he would count $18 million against the salary cap, so a reduction is necessary for him to stay with the Vikings or for that matter to sign with another team if he is released.

Either way, the Vikings might not be able to count on Peterson staying healthy, and they surely need to upgrade an offensive line shattered by injuries at tackle in 2016.

THE BREAKDOWN

2016 finish: 3rd in NFC North (8-8)

STATISTICS

TOTAL OFFENSE: 315.1 (28th)

RUSHING: 75.3 (32nd)

PASSING: 239.8 (18th)

TOTAL DEFENSE: 314.9 (3rd)

RUSHING: 106.9 (20th)

PASSING: 207.9 (3rd)

NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

*Indicates option not expected to be exercised or expected to be released

TOP THREE NEEDS

1. OFFENSIVE TACKLE

The Vikings used five players at left tackle and three at right tackle in 2016. They need talent, durability and depth at this key spot.

UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

*Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October, $10.6M)

Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

4/53 Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, 6-5, 330, 5.31, 2

5/59 Roderick Johnson, Florida State, 6-6, 308, 5.34, 2 (underclassman)

2. GUARD

Left guard Alex Boone wasn't great, but he provides something to build around. Right guard Brandon Fusco had another bad year and two concussions, then was released after the Super Bowl.

UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 in March, $1.89M)

T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

Chris Chester, Atlanta (G; 34, $2.35M)

Chance Warmack, Tennessee (G; 26 in September, $3.04M)

DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

3/46 Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh, 6-5, 300, 5.20, 2

4/49 Dion Dawkins, Temple, 6-4, 317, 5.27, 2

5/85 Nico Siragusa, San Diego State, 6-4, 326, 5.37, 3

3. RUNNING BACK

Even in the unlikely event Adrian Peterson returns for less money, the Vikings still need a big, young, versatile back of the future.

UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (25, $1.03M)

LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December, $1M)

Latavius Murray, Oakland (27, $567K)

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June, $848K)

Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August, $1.5M)

DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

1/5 Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1 (underclassman)

2/9 Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1 (underclassman)

3/24 Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1 (underclassman)

4/60 Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5-10, 215, 4.62, 2 (underclassman)

5/86 Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 6-1, 226, 4.50, 3 (underclassman)

UFA KEEPERS

T Matt Kalil (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson (26 in March, $1.8M)

CB Captain Munnerlyn (29 in April, $3.75M)

ROSTER REVIEW DEPTH CHART

Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

* Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

(&) Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Sam Bradford. Backups -- *Teddy Bridgewater, Taylor Heinicke, Shaun Hill (UFA).

RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- Adrian Peterson, FB Zach Line (UFA). Backups -- Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata (UFA), C.J. Ham.

TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Kyle Rudolph. Backups -- Rhett Ellison (UFA), David Morgan.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen. Backups -- Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson (UFA), Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *LT Matt Kalil (UFA), LG Alex Boone, C Joe Berger, (&) RG Brandon Fusco, *RT Andre Smith. Backups -- T T.J. Clemmings, RT Jeremiah Sirles, C Nick Easton, G Zac Kerin, G Willie Beavers, T Rashod Hill, (&) *OL Mike Harris, *LT Jake Long (UFA).

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LE Brian Robison, NT Linval Joseph, *DT Sharrif Floyd, RE Everson Griffen. Backups -- E Danielle Hunter, DT Shamar Stephen, DE Justin Trattou (UFA), DE Stephen Weatherly, *DE B.J. Dubose, *DT Scott Crichton, *DT Tom Johnson.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Anthony Barr, MLB Eric Kendricks, WLB Chad Greenway (UFA/retired). Backups -- LB Audie Cole (UFA), MLB Kentrell Brothers, WLB Emmanuel Lamur, SLB Edmond Robinson.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Terence Newman (UFA), FS Harrison Smith, *SS Andrew Sendejo. Backups -- CB Captain Munnerlyn (UFA), CB Trae Waynes, CB Marcus Sherels, *CB Mackensie Alexander, *CB Jabari Price, S Anthony Harris, S Jayron Kearse, *S Antone Exum Jr.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Kai Forbath, P Jeff Locke (UFA), KOR Cordarrelle Patterson (UFA), PR Marcus Sherels, LS Kevin McDermott.

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The Sports Xchange

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