18. MINNESOTA (8-7-1)

LAST SEASON: Crumbled underneath weight of Super Bowl goal they carried into 2018 with new QB Kirk Cousins following trip to NFC championship game previous year, fading down stretch of difficult schedule and losing at home in regular-season finale to rival Bears to miss playoffs for third time in five years under coach Mike Zimmer. Field goal trouble surfaced yet again, forcing dumping of rookie Daniel Carlson after his three misses cost team victory over Packers in tie on road in second game. Offensive line failed to help running game get going and keep Cousins upright, though QB made his own share of mistakes in tense season that cost offensive coordinator John DeFilippo his job.

FREE AGENCY: With recent megadeals for Cousins, WR Stefon Diggs, DE Danielle Hunter and LB Eric Kendricks pushing Vikings up against salary cap, they were mostly quiet in March. But added starters RG Josh Kline and DT Shamar Stephen. Biggest get was LB Anthony Barr, who verbally agreed to join Jets before change of heart kept him in place. Kicker Dan Bailey was re-signed, latest attempt at stabilizing that spot, but most moves were simply for depth.



POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Oklahoma OT Cody Ford; Washington State OT Andre Dillard; North Carolina State C Garrett Bradbury.

OUTLOOK: Stop us if you've heard this before, but offensive line remains most pressing weakness. Guard is most glaring hole, even after signing Kline, but if Vikings find instant starter at tackle in first round, Riley Reiff could move to guard. Or Pat Elflein could, if they get a top-flight center. Diggs and Adam Thielen were slowed down stretch, reinforcing need for legitimate third WR. Losing Latavius Murray in free agency leaves RB Dalvin Cook more exposed, too.


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