Time is soon approaching to Thursday, April 26 for the annual NFL Draft, and this guy, for one, can’t wait. My wife and I will be making the trek to U.S. Bank Stadium for the Vikings draft party, which I attend every year and our wedding anniversary is the April 28, so the draft party is usually part of our extended anniversary celebration.

The upcoming season will be my 20th year of owning season tickets and I look at the schedule and use the word “brutal” to describe the 2019 slate. It is full of playoff teams and traditional powerhouses.

It was two years ago during a magical season that the Vikes made it to the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia, only to get crushed. Last year I was fired up for another run, but as it turned out, it far from a repeat trip.

The new season once again is approaching quickly and my favorite weekend of watching draft coverage right around the corner. Yes. I attend the first night, but then spend countless hours on the couch with my remote in hand watching the draft and flipping to other channels during commercials to catch any information I can find.

I shake my head with the knowledge these guys display. Mel Kuiper and Todd McShay are fountains of relevant information, and I love their analysis and breakdowns. I can’t get enough football, especially this weekend. I do spend a lot of time in February watching the combine, so when the draft time comes I am familiar with a few names.

By the time draft day comes I am also so glad because it ends the mock drafts, which are worthless in my opinion. Who really knows who will take who? I mean, look at last year when the Cleveland Browns stunned the sports world by drafting Baker Mayfield first overall.

I look at the Vikes and it’s hard to admit, but the Christian Ponder and Troy Williamson were major disappointments, just to name a couple. That, however, is the nature of the draft. As a fan, you have to take the good with the bad.

I now look at the offseason by the Vikings and see some huge losses with the likes of Latavius Murray, Marcus Sherels and Sheldon Richardson leaving in free agency, so there are many holes to fill. My heart was ripped out when Sherels left as he was one of my favorite players. I have nothing but respect for him and wish him the best, even if it is with New Orleans.

As for my thoughts on the draft, I hope Minnesota goes for an offensive lineman early. I spent the last season contemplating going to the chiropractor after repeatedly watching Kirk Cousins taking a beating and I couldn’t stop shaking my head in disbelief. I always try and stay positive but it was brutal watching the beat-down Cousins took almost every week.

I must also add the line play was awful, but a lot of times I must say it just didn’t seem Cousins had the awareness that he was about to get hit. My wife and I yelled and yelled to Kirk, but it just didn’t help. I give Cousins some credit in his toughness, but if we are going to have this man run the offense we need to protect him a lot better, especially with how much money the team invested in him. You look at a Tom Brady and his line-play is impeccable.

I have read and heard speculation that Riley Reiff could switch to guard and I have also heard consideration of moving Pat Elflein from center to guard. I guess no matter what, when it comes to the draft, any kind of lineman would be much-appreciated.

I am aware of the saying “take the best player available” but I don’t believe the Vikes can do that unless that best player is an offensive lineman.

The past drafts Minnesota has found some mid-to-late-round players who have made a great impact such as defensive end Danielle Hunter.

The draft is about addressing needs and adding depth to make the Minnesota Vikes a threat to make it back to the NFC Championship, and, of course, hopefully the Big Game.

One more final point on why I want offensive line. I look at the schedule and see home games: Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Oakland, Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit. The road games look like this: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Bears, Packers and Lions. I look at this and think Khalil Mack twice with the Bears and Joey Bosa (Chargers), DeMacus Lawrence (Cowboys) as three of the best pass rushers in the league.

If that’s not enough to convince the front office to draft the big boy up front, I don’t know what is.

That’s all for now and thank you for reading,

Purplestick

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