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The Vikings' offensive starters if the season started today

The Vikings preached continuity and that's what they have achieved.
Kirk Cousins

Coming into the offseason, the Minnesota Vikings preached continuity on the offensive side of the ball. They promoted within to hire Gary Kubiak as Kevin Stefanski's replacement as offensive coordinator and are keeping the same system in place to help Kirk Cousins reach another gear after a strong 2019.

When it comes to personnel, however, that's where things get iffy. The Vikings have had a pair of starters from last year's team depart in free agency and as most of the bigger names have found new homes, Minnesota will be looking to fill those holes with unproven rookies.

This begs the question as to what the Vikings offense would look like if the season started tomorrow. While there's a good chance some of their 13 draft picks, including two first-round picks, crack the starting lineup, this is how things stand right now. 

Quarterback - Kirk Cousins

Cousins was effective in 2019, throwing for 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, but Viking fans still want more thanks to his gaudy contract numbers. While some fans may not believe in Cousins, the front office does, giving Cousins a two-year, $66 million contract extension that will keep him in Minnesota through 2022.

This offseason will represent the third straight year that the Vikings will try to help Cousins reach another level, but the first since he became a full-time starter with Washington in 2015 that he'll have the same offensive coordinator.

Running Back - Dalvin Cook

After his first two seasons were wiped out due to injury, Cook had his most productive season in 2019 with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns. That's not to say he completely avoided the injury bug as he played in just 14 games and left two others thanks to shoulder and chest injuries.

Entering the final year of his deal, the conventional wisdom says that extending Cook might be a bad idea. But the Vikings seem hellbent on creating cap space for something and odds are its to pay their top running back in the coming weeks.

Fullback - C.J. Ham

With limited resources, the Vikings opted to dump $12 million over the next four years to the fullback position. While the position is scarce across the NFL, it's important to the Vikings who want to control the clock by pounding the ball on the ground. Ham's value as a special teamer also inflates his value to the coaching staff.

Wide receiver - Adam Thielen, Bisi Johnson, Tajae Sharpe

The big change for the Vikings comes with Cousins' targets, which makes the continuity comments strange. The Vikings ditched Stefon Diggs for a slew of draft picks including the 22nd overall selection in next month's draft.

But that leaves a current dearth at the position. Thielen was one of the best receivers in the league, producing a 131.9 QB rating when targeted. That number was third in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, but behind him are plenty of question marks.

Sharpe is a reliable possession receiver but eclipsed 500 yards just once during his four-year career. Johnson is a coaching staff favorite, but his production (294 yards, 3 TD) should have been better filling in for Thielen last season. Then there's Chad Beebe, who is a Vikings cult favorite, but has dealt with injuries.

With a loaded wide receiver class, the Vikings will undoubtedly look to upgrade here and might even use one of their two first-round picks on an immediate contributor.

Tight end - Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr.

We'll list two starting tight ends here because the Vikings primarily used a two-tight end set in lieu of three-wide sets last season. It's unclear whether this was done to help the running game or because they didn't have the personnel to execute a three-wide set.

Rudolph and Smith put together a strong season with 678 yards and eight touchdowns combined in 2019. With Smith having his rookie year under his belt, it will be interesting to see if Kubiak can find more ways to get him the ball while Rudolph remains the team's inline blocker.

Offensive line - Riley Reiff, Pat Elflein, Garrett Bradbury, Dakota Dozier, Brian O'Neill

This unit suffered a shock to the system when they released Josh Kline, but the move wasn't as major as some made it seem to be. The Vikings saved some money by re-signing Dozier and the solid bet is that he'll compete with 2019 fourth-round pick Dru Samia for the starting job at right guard.

That doesn't mean the Vikings should stop looking for linemen, however. This year's guard class isn't very deep, but the Vikings can find an athletic tackle in the early rounds of the draft. 

Houston's Josh Jones and Boise State's Ezra Cleveland have been mentioned as targets, but the Vikings will need to do something if they want to give Cousins the climate-controlled pocked he craves.

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