Minnesota Vikings News Roundup: The Vikings O-Line Remains a Major Concern
Like many Vikings fans, I’m growing increasingly concerned about the o-line. The roster, overall, looks rock solid, but that one glaring weakness remains. If they can somehow find a solution for their o-line, the Vikings will be well positioned to challenge in the NFC. The News Roundup thus focuses on that pesky offensive line before turning to Zim’s press conference. After that, we take a few moments for TVG and the broader Vikings chatter on the interwebs.
The Vikings and Their Underwhelming O-Line
Three positions are mostly set. Garrett Bradbury will be the starting center; Brian O’Neill will be the starting right tackle. We should be somewhat concerned about the former and quite confident in the latter.
After those two, we know that Ezra Cleveland is essentially guaranteed a starting position. The safe money rests on him playing RG, but I’ve long been a proponent of him being able to stay at tackle. Zim suggested that he is currently a RG: “Right now he’s right guard, but all those things can change, depending on what happens the rest of the way in free agency, and what else happens in the draft. We don’t know what’s gonna happen in those places, and obviously there’s other positions that we can draft, I’m sure at some point we’re gonna try to address all those things but, I think what we’ve done so far in free agency has allowed us to take the best player available wherever he is.”
In any case, my opinion means very little to the Vikings’ coaching staff, so they’ll end up doing what they think is best. If that means RG, then Minnesota will head into their season with their right side all set. The Bradbury-Cleveland-O’Neill right side offers plenty of upside because it consists of three young, athletic linemen.
Mike Zimmer, who has a reasonably good poker face, suggested that he is confident that Minnesota has enough good o-linemen to be able to avoid reaching for one in the draft: “At this point we’ve got Rashod Hill back, we’ve got Udoh back, we got O’Neill, we got Cleveland, so we’ll be able to take care of those situations. All those guys are good players, and so we’ll continue to figure it out and go from there.” Adding Mason Cole and re-adding Dakota Dozier are fine moves given that neither has any guaranteed money. That being said, I think all Vikings fans believe Minnesota must have some urgency in adding players to their offensive line.
Austin Reiter is still out there, and Alejandro Villanueva is also a free agent. I don’t think Spielman reads TVG; on the off chance that he does, please heed these words, Mr. Spielman: adding another competent player to the o-line would go a long way in assuring us weary fans.
Takeaways from Zim’s Press Conference
The offensive line was an important topic, but Zim talked about the hope he has for the defense as he enters this season, indicating that he feels rejuvenated. Zim thinks there is opportunity to be more innovative on defense, doing so in a manner that helps the defense to play faster.
Zim suggested that they’re still considering all options at backup QB: “Stanley is a big, strong-armed kid, Browning has been great the two years that he’s been here, Sean’s been outstanding in the room, so again, without saying hey we’re gonna do this or that, there’s a lot of options there I believe.” He’s also confident Danielle Hunter will be a Viking: “Well, I know he’s talked to Andre, I’ve not talked to him. He’s been sending back videos of his workouts and they’re very, very impressive so excited to get him back on the field. He’s a great team guy, he’s a terrific player, and he’s one of the best people I’ve been around in professional football.”
Fans should take the time to read the full transcript of Zim’s press conference.
TVG and The Vikings Chatter
Cole offered a great article this week. He will be looking at Minnesota’s biggest draft busts; the first one covers Troy Williamson. Josh contributed his first article this week, a great game day chili recipe for the chefs in the crowd. There was also some talk of the recent UFFda! Sports mock draft, how a first-round corner is never an impossibility, and how important backup QB is.
The internet continues to offer plenty of Vikings Chatter. Nick from The Skol Network uploaded a free agency recap video. Purple Pain Forums remains a great spot for passionate discussion of all things Vikings. Purple PTSD announced the arrival of a connected baseball website, so Twins fans may be intrigued by a brand-new spot to get baseball coverage. Fans of NFL draft coverage should hop over to The Draft Team; Josh and Kirby are doing great work over there.
Reader: know that you are valued and appreciated. It always means a lot to us here at TVG when you take a few moments for the things we post.
Last week, we started a new tradition for the News Roundup: The Internet’s Pleasing Purple Post. The first one was awarded to Nick Olson for his Patrick Peterson article. The second ever TIPPP Award goes to Arif Hasan for his recent article on o-line prospects for the Vikings.