Three and out: Minnesota Vikings’ 2018 NFL draft needs, prospect fits

In the build-up to the 2018 draft, USA TODAY Sports will take a look at each NFL team’s situation and needs.

Minnesota Vikings

1. Expect the offensive line to be addressed early in the draft, perhaps multiple times. The Vikings are giving QB Kirk Cousins $84 million over the next three years, now they need to protect him.

Advice: Minnesota doesn’t need to devote an early pick to this position after investing heavily in Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. But Wisconsin’s Nick Nelson, Florida’s Duke Dawson and Texas’ Holton Hill will likely still be available in Round 3.

3. Kyle Rudolph is locked in as the Vikings’ top pass-catching tight end. He and WR Stefon Diggs led the team with eight TD catches in 2017, but no one else had more than four. Cousins surely wouldn’t mind another red zone weapon.

Advice: This year’s tight end class seems middling. But mid-round options include Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews, Stanford’s Dalton Schultz, Central Florida’s Jordan Akins and Indiana’s Ian Thomas. Former first rounder Laquon Treadwell has yet to be a factor, so GM Rick Spielman could also consider big-bodied WRs like SMU’s Courtland Sutton or Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown, both likely to be Day 2 picks.

Barwin moved from linebacker to the defensive line after the Eagles switched to a 4-3 system, and his sack total dropped. The Eagles released Barwin last March even after he offered to take a pay cut, according to multiple reports.

Barwin visited the Cincinnati Bengals after he was released but opted for the familiarity of Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense he played for with the Texans and signed with the Los Angeles Rams last year.

Of all the reasons to be concerned about the Cubs’ offense in the early going, the main concern is probably Anthony Rizzo’s start. Before missing some games with lower back tightness, Rizzo was hitless in his previous three games, going a combined 0-for-15 in the process. No offense is going to score much when its No. 3-hole hitter has a .433 OPS. — Ken Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information

Luck and the organization are taking a cautious stance this offseason after getting burned by their open optimism last year.

If both the Browns and Giants stand pat with their first choices in the NFL draft later this month, this matchup will feature the top two picks in 2018 taking the field together. Might we see two future franchise signal-callers on the same gridiron? The opening week faceoff will certainly lead to myriad one-to-one comparisons between the top two players picked.

After hibernating for the entirety of John Fox’s reign, Chicago fans hope an offensive awakening occurs under new coach Matt Nagy and second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky . Nagy welcomes his mentor, Andy Reid, and former players to Solider Field this preseason. Clearly, Nagy won’t unleash his entire playbook, but the Bears should be far enough along in the process to show signs of life by Week 3. Add the fact that Patrick Mahomes will be slinging it in his regular-season tune-up and you’ve got a surplus of reasons watch. Plus, it’s the third game of the preseason, and as the late, great Dennis Green famously stated about the third game of the preseason:

“I’m not a perfect-feeling athlete right now,” Luck conceded. “… One thing I picked up upon myself is that I’m quite impatient as a person. It has gotten into places — looking back at the rehab — that maybe I shouldn’t have been in, in the first place.

“I don’t want to repeat those missteps. I cannot miss steps. I very, very strongly believe in that. Some things just take time and I’ve learned that. When I do get the urge to do something a little silly, I talk to myself and say it’s not worth it right now.”

This time around, those positive expectations are more guarded.

Sitting down with Around The NFL Podcast at the Annual League Meeting late last month, new coach Frank Reich expressed hope that teams selecting ahead of the Colts draft quarterbacks because of the strong belief that Luck will be ” ready to go ” in Week 1.

“You’re hopeful that he’s going to be there,” Reich added. “You plan that he’s going to be there. All the rehab is checking off all the boxes: Yep, we hit that stage. Stage one, stage two, stage three. It’s all been good. We’ll just have to keep progressing on down that road.”

Packers’ Trevor Davis arrested for making bomb joke

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis was arrested Sunday and charged with making “criminal threats” after joking about a bomb at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to LAX police.

Public information officer Rob Pedregon told ESPN on Monday that Davis was taken into custody and released on his own recognizance pending a May 3 court appearance.

“Yesterday, Trevor Davis checked in at the Hawaiian Airlines ticket counter and was asked the usual questions about whether he was carrying any aerosol cans, knives, weapons or explosives,” Pedregon said. “Davis turned to his female companion and asked if she remembered to pack the explosives. He was then taken into custody and booked.”

“Obviously my stuff is there. I’m not worried about that,” he said. “It’s just smoothing out some delivery issues that I have, better direction to the plate, better timing, my arm’s dragging a little bit so everything’s kind of up in the zone … It’s rhythm, tempo and timing. I’m just a hair off right now.”

Ohtani could return to the lineup. He’s homered in three straight games as a designated hitter. Both teams start 1-0 left-handers, Tyler Skaggs for the Angels and Martin Perez for the Rangers.

Scandrick was signed with Dallas through the 2019 season and is set to earn base salaries of $3 million and $4 million, respectively, but was granted his request to be released by the Cowboys on Saturday.

Scandrick, 31, was selected by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He recorded 38 total tackles and three defended passes in 11 games last season while also failing to record a single interception for just the second time in his 10-year career.

Drury agreed the time away would be a good thing.

“I don’t want to be out there if I’m playing at 50 percent if it’s something that we can fix and get back out there and get healthy,” Drury said.

Second baseman Tyler Wade also left Friday’s game, exiting in the ninth inning with flu-like symptoms.

Golden Tate contract talks likely to wait until summer

The Detroit Lions have aggressively extended the contracts of a number of key contributors under general manager Bob Quinn, and if the pattern holds, wide receiver Golden Tate could be next on the docket.

Quinn said he hasn’t thought that far ahead, preferring to explore that possibility later in the summer, well into the offseason program, and with the chaos of the draft in the rearview mirror.

I think all those things, in my time here, have happened in the summer, Quinn said. I think our concentration and our focus right now is on the draft. Things that come down the road after that, they’ll come and go and we’ll talk through it.

The biggest difference is Tate’s age. He’ll turn 30 during training camp, which could limit how much the Lions are looking to invest in him, both in terms of contract length and financially.

Regardless, cap space shouldn’t be an issue. The team has approximately $11 million remaining and Quinn intends to enter the season with a healthy buffer, just for reasons such as this.

We always leave a buffer, Quinn said. I’m not getting into specifics about how much. But there’s practice squad salaries, there’s draft picks, there’s injury replacements during the season, there’s possible extensions in training camp.

There’s a myriad of things that we always keep a buffer for, he said. You’re never going to see us go close to the cap this time of year. That’s just not good business. You always have to keep that for contingency plans and for emergency plans during the year.

Maybe that’s good enough for Seattle these days: Dress different, act like the masses. It wasn’t good enough before, though, when the Seahawks nurtured an identity, lived by their own rules and stayed late at the playoff party every year.

Maybe this is Seattle’s new winning formula. It’s been other franchises’ winning formula, to be sure. But the Seahawks had their own formula, and if they had employed a more reliable kicker last season — another common theme they have adopted to their detriment — they might still be winning with it today.

Much of this, of course, is simply the way NFL business is conducted these days. Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas (if and when he is moved out) were going to face the fate of every player who signs a big deal in his prime. No matter how much they’ve won, how much they’ve redefined their positions and how much they’ve created unique identities, their team was going to want someone younger and cheaper sooner rather than later.