Clarifying Point On Developing Young Offensive Linemen

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 29, 2010 – 7:57 am

In the most recent edition of the Monday Morning Mailbag, I addressed a question from a reader asking why the Vikings didn’t draft more offensive linemen. As a reader has pointed out to me, I need to clarify and correct a few facts contained within that response and then I also want update a few of the figures I originally included.

In my response, I stated that 7 of the Vikings 11 offensive linemen currently under contract (including 5th round draft pick Chris DeGeare) were 23 or younger and that Ryan Cook was just 24, indicating that the Vikings had a bevy of young linemen to develop and therefore didn’t need to be aggressive in picking more up during the draft. In reality, 7 of those 11 offensive linemen are 24 or younger and Cook is actually 26. Although the numbers are slightly different, the point remains that the Vikings have a roster full of developmental prospects at offensive line.

Since that Monday Morning Mailbag was posted, the Vikings have added players – both as undrafted rookie free agents and tryout players – that strengthen this point. Five undrafted rookie free agent OL will participate in this weekend’s rookie minicamp and they’ll be joined by 4 more OL who will be trying out. That brings the total number of OL with the Vikings to 20 and 16 of them are at or under the age of 24, with Cook at 26 (turning 27 on May 8).

Maybe more than any other position, unheralded prospects can turn into productive players along the OL. In 2010, 3 OL who entered the NFL as undrafted players (Jason Peters, Shaun O’Hara and Kris Dielman) made the Pro Bowl and another (David Diehl) was taken in the 5th round.

So after all of that, the point remains: the Vikings are in a good position to develop some young OL and groom them to be solid players. But I wanted to clarify and correct the facts, and also include that update. So thanks to Jesse, who pointed out the need for clarification.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »

16 Responses to “Clarifying Point On Developing Young Offensive Linemen”

  1. By mnmaverick on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Great Point,However…

    While I agree that the Vikes have some great potential to develop some young players, what are the odds that any of these young guys are going to be difference makers this year? The window for top teams to get to the Super Bowl does not remain open very long. The Vikes are way too close to ignore the breakdown of the O line last year. They must get a right guard that can help them now. When they get their rings, they can go back and rebuild for another run. They seem to be solid everywhere but the O line. I only hope they have plans to get a free agent soon! Either way, I will be cheering them on as always.

  2. By mikewobschall on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    There was no breakdown in the O-line last year. Adrian had the 3rd best rushing season in franchise history and Favre had perhaps the best year of his career. Two of the 5 starters were Pro Bowlers and 2 of the 5 starters played all season in the 1st seasons as starters – Sullivan at C and Loadholt at RT (missed 1 game only).

  3. By MGR4FUN on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    i am always amazed with how us fans are so “what hav you done for me lately” … last year there was two new rookie starting o-linemen and two pro-bowlers on the left side … and the purple were one play from the sb just a few months ago … havin been one of the best four finishers last year not only did we draft #30 but we were also handcuffed when it came to free-agents … we lost our two key offensive backups to free-agency … still the biggest need was said to be at the corners … so we got a vetran corner and drafted and excellent rookie corner with our first pick and replaced one of the offensive defecters with the best college rb in the nation … got a stud pass rusher next and then replaced the other offensive defecter with an athlete that is a natural guard but played left tackle for a pretty dog-gone-good wake forrest team last year … “what hav you done for me lately” … returnin 22 starters from last years NFC Championship Game (that would be all of em) … and still “what hav you done lately” … even with two of the better vetran backup qb’s in the league … how come we didnt draft a qb of the future … ask and ye shall receive … invited a young man who just three years ago was the most sought after high school qb in the country … we are a spoiled lot us fans of the purple … and i failed to mention mr webb who just might be the next randy moss … yup it is good very good to be a vikings fan

  4. By cjsiewert on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Nicely put MGR4FUN

  5. By Dennis on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I could not agree more MGR4FUN. The fans were happy when they drafted Troy Williamson and they cheered for J.D. Booty. How did those work out?
    Never mind giving this staff any praise for the last 3 drafts and building the vikings into one of the top 4 teams in the league. They seem to forget that we have some great players and are paying out some pretty hefty salaries already. With all the talent on this team, we can afford to develop some young guys that won’t break the bank. Look at the starters that are going to mentor these young players! Anyone remember John Randell? (not drafted) Have some faith in this coaching staff. Trust that they know what they are doing.

  6. By Dan Kuyek on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    While I can’t disagree with the posts in general. It remains that the loss of Burke and the inexperience and undersized replacement along with a questionable RG led to a drop 0f 400 yds in rushing production even though our passing game produced over 4,000 yards!! .
    Our running game should have at least been able to maintain the production level last year.
    Bottem line is the beating Favre took, more and more as the season went on, clearly shows that our O-line took a hit and needs improvement to get to the next level.
    Personally, I was embarrassed that McKinnie was in the Pro-bowl.. (48 year fan and never have I felt that way before).
    Finally, I get suspicious when I hear the developmental players spin. It is spin when the real issue is how close we are to winning it all. What making a move for a stud on the right side would do to take us all the way.
    Lets try mortgaging the future a bit.
    i do not see the same intensity from management/ownership to win it all that sits out here among the faithful. PERIOD.

  7. By Elgar on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Ask yourself this: If you had been playing at lineman and had had a shoulder injury that required surgery (like Hutch) or a concussion (like Herrera) or it was your first NFL season starting (like Loadholt or Sullivan) would you have excepted yourself to have had your best NFL season ever? Really???

    Some Vikings fans are a tad like the guy who demanded that the sun be replaced because he didn’t get a very good tan during a thunderstorn.

  8. By Dan Kuyek on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Ok, there was little said about injuries during the play-offs for obvious reasons.

    If that’s the case then it mitigates things to a point. I notice you ommitted McKinnie in your reply also Sullivans substandard results. I get he’s green, but did the Vikings let Burke go with the expectation of that level of performance from Sullivan? I doubt it.

    Are you disagreeing that a top RG or a better center would vastly improve our lot for next year, not to mention Favre’s enthusiasm for another season?

    A lot of teams improved their lot in the off-season esp. in the NCF North. Throw in a much tougher schedule with the improved division and the minimal improvement,it seems to me that matching last years record might be out of reach.

    The Saints added Sharper and, I believe, one or two more in their off-season which put them over the top. We have largely “marked time”.

    I have yet to see that formula win anything anywhere.

  9. By MIke B on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry guys, I can’t get excited about this draft and seems like from the major sources that this draft is a C. It is what it is. I would rather be honest than blow smoke about it. If and when it’s proven wrong I will be first to admit it in the blog.

  10. By Lito on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Nice to have lots of offensive line developmental prospects. However, the time to win the Super Bowl is now. Bret Favre and Pat Williams won’t be around for years, although there is always a chance they may surprise a lot of people. Huge holes need to be created for AP and TG as well as protect Bret Favre. Vikes should be able to pound the ball head-on and the right side is not known to create holes. In other words, Vikes need offensive hogs bigger than 301 lbs and 315 lbs to man the right offensive line. Is Degeare ready to step-up?

  11. By MGR4FUN on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    lemme see perfect at home … 9 – 0 in ’09 at the metrodome … who was blockin then … tough to improve on that … #4 has the best year of his HOF life … who was blockin for that … #28 has a subpar year at 1300+ yards (are you kiddin me) i wonder who was blockin for that … 6 count them 6 recievers with more than 40 catches only been done once before in the NFL … wonder who was blockin for that …

  12. By mnmaverick on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    What have you done for me lately?
    I must respond to this ignorant charge. I finished my post with saying that regardless of what the team does, I will be cheering for them. This is what I have been doing for forty years and counting. Wanting to improve the line does not mean I am not a fan. I have nothing personal against any of the starters, that is another ignorant assumption. I would love to see all of them become pro bowlers. However, to say that there was no break down on the line at the end of the year is absolutely idiotic. Peterson regularly got caught behind the line and I don’t recall how many hundred yard games he got, while he was getting them regularly at the beginning of the season. To say we need no help on the line is to give up any chance the team will achieve their goal. I believe other posts have covered the concerns with the line well. Favre got attacked and punched in the mouth regularly by the Saints and that is why we lost. Are you telling us that he would not love a right guard that can block like Hutch does on the left? Are you saying that a first year undersized center was better than Burk? Being a fan means wanting the best team possible, not blindly saying all is well while the ship fills with water. Please send me some of what you have been drinking, because I am stuck here in the real world with the rest of the people that have responded to your stupid remarks.

  13. By MGR4FUN on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    “The Five Reasons” no not a new rock group … ladies and gentlemen lemme introduce “The Five Reasons” … #74 LT – Bryant McKinnie 30 y/o 6’8″ 335# / #76 LG – Steve Hutchinson 32 y/o 6’5″ 313# / #65 C – John Sullivan 24 y/o 6’4″ 301# / #64 RG – Anthony Herrera 29 y/o 6’2″ 315# / #71 RT – Phil Loadholt 24 y/o 6’8″ 343# … “The Five Reasons” why #4 had a record year in ’09 and why #28 had a subpar 1300+ yard season (shakin my head) and why 6 count em 6 purple recievers had 40 or more catches (only ever been done one other time in NFL “HISTORY”) “The Five Reasons” why the purple offense is good-to-go

  14. By MGR4FUN on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    mr maverick i never meant anything i said as a personal afront on you … i am a diehard fan since ’62 as well … been thru the thick and the thin with the purple … i would hav loved to see the vikes draft young mr pouncey c/g from florida that went to the steelers at like 12th … that bein said i think the young man from wake forrest looks to hav some excellent upside … and who knows maybe next draft in ’11 we get the twin brother of mr pouncey now playin c/g for florida (he chose to return for his sr year) … in the meantime you and i will cheer for “toby-time” and enjoy watchin the purple kick some cheesehead tail again in the fall

  15. By Viking-ology on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I think the Vikes did OK in the draft. They addressed what they needed to, for the most part. I’m sure Favre will come back for one last year. I’m hoping they have a QB plan for next year-thru the draft. Looking ahead…Hopefully we can all say at the end of the season that it took 50 years, but we did it! Vikings win the Super Bowl over the Jets! SKOL Vikes!!

  16. By Dan Kuyek on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    I feel it slipping away. Again. The window is closing a bit. ONE MOVE could have given us home field against the Saints. Anyone think we wouldn’t have won that game at home? Keeping Sharper maybe.
    All the points of last years great season 9-0 at home etc are all true and valid.
    So is the much improved NFC North and NFC in general. The much tougher schedule as well. Also true and valid. We have not kept up with the Jones’ in the improvement department.. Inescapably true and valid.
    I do not here or feel the intention from management/ownership that we will do whatever it takes to win it all. No communication, even in general terms, not even a rah rah!
    There is no way we match 11-5 in this season based on our moves so far.
    Yes, we can still win the division, but it just got harder. What we did last year didn’t get it done. Obviously, developmental players are rhetoric we don’t need right now.
    We’ve had fifty or so first round draft picks and zero championships. Burn one or two, put a mortgage on the future, trade for that stud on the right side or a center. WIN IT ALL- NOW.
    Before that window closes all the way. AGAIN.

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