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SKOR North – The Vikings may have an offensive line conundrum on draft day



Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman laughed as he mentioned to the joint Twin Cities media on Tuesday that his wife told him not to come home if he carried a cornerback in the first round on Thursday night. She might have been kidding but her sentiments reflect the feelings of many Vikings fans heading into the draft. For the masses, it's offensive line or bust

You can blame Spielman's wife or the thousands of Vikings fans who are desperate to see the top guard or tackle hug Roger Goodell on stage in Nashville while holding a purple jersey.

Pro Football Focus rated the Vikings' O-line 29th last season and the team hasn't drafted a first-round lineman since Matt Kalil in 201

2. Last year most expected a first-round lineman and instead the Vikings picked cornerback Mike Hughes – a highly rated prospect – and saw five linemen taken before their next selection. [2017] While third-round pick Pat Elflein is likely to have a bounce-back season considering he will have a healthy offseason this year and 2018 second- round tackle Brian O'Neill has a high ceiling, the Vikings' offensive line is still in need of improvement. Riley Reiff gift up the eighth most pressures among tackled last season, per Pro Football Focus. New right guard Josh Kline ranked 38th of 53 guards by PFF, two spots below last year's starter Mike Remmers.

The trouble with drafting a lineman in the first round on Thursday night is the strong possibility of better players being available. After Spielman's talked about his wife's one-liner, he added, "Although there are pretty good corners that we like in the first round."

While there are strong O-line prospects who could be available at 18 like Jonah Williams of Alabama, Washington State's Other Dillard and Garrett Bradbury of NC State, the scenario exists that teams who draft just before the Vikings like the Dolphins, Bengals and Panthers could also look for big O-line improvements.

That could leave the Vikings with a big gap between the first-round talents on the defensive side like Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, Florida State, Brian Burns and LSU corner Greedy Williams on the board. Would it be worthwhile to reach out for an offensive lineman like K-State's Dalton Risner or Boston College's Chris Lindstrom?

“If we have a guy that we think is a Pro Bowl talent, and for some reason that guy falls to us at 18, how do you not take that player? ”Spielman said.

But the Vikings' GM also acknowledged the risk involved with passing on a key position of need.

on the offensive linemen went earlier than where we picked, "he said." You have to go all that out, and you have to be able to react once you see that board is coming off and where the runs are on positions. "

The possibility exists of a similar run this year. On his final big board, ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks six offensive lines between 20 and 50. Players don't always fall where they are but it paints the picture that late-first and early-second could be the areas where O-linemen fall

"I know from this board this year and the way it's developed, the depth of talent, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, is one of the strongest that I've seen in a while," Spielman said. 19659002] There are plenty of options aside from just picking at 18, 50 and 81 in the first three rounds. Spielman mentioned a scenario in which the team would consider trading down. He was also asked about trading current players.

“No one has really approached us on any of our players to say if they have to be of value to get rid of a player because I do we think we have a pretty good roster, ”he said“ I know this is the last chance of this whole process to make a significant improvement to your roster during the draft. I can't predict anything. I have no idea. I could say no right now and I can go up and get a phone call an hour later. As of right now I don't anticipate anything. ”

The Vikings' combination of options and options makes them one of the most fascinating teams heading into the draft. Will they draft a 2019 spot if there is a better player at a future position of need? Will they try to move down to take more swings? Would they move up to the start on O-line started in the second? Intrigue is everywhere.

“You always get into a draft, I think, really, really honey in just getting the best guys that we can get, get them here and hopefully fill the needs at the same time, "Spielman said.


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