MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said last month at the Senior Bowl that he and general manager Rick Spielman had identified eight positions where the Vikings need to improve in 2015.
It always seemed reasonable to think linebacker was on that list. Speaking at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Spielman effectively said as much.
"That's an area that we'll look at," Spielman said. "We have a couple guys that are unrestricted free agents. We'll weigh in on that position to see. We're very excited about where Anthony Barr is, but we want to continue to build in that area."
The Vikings could have two new starters next to Barr, depending on what they do with Chad Greenway. The 32-year-old said on Tuesday he is recovered from a strained MCL he suffered in the Vikings' Week 16 loss to the Miami Dolphins, and Zimmer said at the end of the season he believed Greenway could still start in his 10th year. But Greenway is due to make $7.1 million in 2015, and the Vikings are widely expected to approach Greenway about restructuring his deal. Gerald Hodges played well while filling in for an injured Greenway in four games this season, and could push for the starting spot.
There could also be turnover at middle linebacker, where Jasper Brinkley is a free agent. Brinkley, who turns 30 in July, did a decent job against the run last season, but has never been on the field much in passing situations, and the Vikings could look for a long-term answer in the middle of their defense.