We’ve focused mostly on the QB and WR positions during the past few days, but you can be sure teams across the League have a broader focus than that. So let’s expand our horizons a bit and take a look at the current market for offensive linemen.
The Vikings have all five starters returning to the offensive line in 2011, but when you’re coming off a 6-10 season you know that all positions will be scrutinized; the Vikings offensive line will not be an exception.
Below you’ll see a list of names and a brief explanation behind each player. Which player(s) on the list do you like? Is there a name not on the list who should be considered by the Vikings? Let us know what you think in the comments section below this entry.
OT Matt Light (New England) – Odds are the Patriots will bring him back, but he’s currently on the market and is arguably the best OT remaining. The Vikings don’t need a starter at OT, so we’ll move on down the list for the next option.
RG Davin Joseph (Re-signed by Tampa Bay) – Standing at 6-3, 313 pounds, Joseph has good size for an interior lineman and he’s also got the athleticism to accompany it. He was actually recruited as a defensive lineman and he was also standout high school wrestler. Joseph is a five-year veteran and is just 27 years old, so he’s still on the upward arc of his career path. Tampa chose him in the first round of the 2006 draft out of Oklahoma and he’s been an important part of the team’s surge the past two years. Joseph has been described to me as a power blocker who excels in the running game. He did fracture his foot in November, but he’s also played all 16 games twice and 12 games another time.
OG Justin Blalock (Atlanta) – A versatile player, Blalock would fit best with the Vikings as a RG. He’s just 27 years old, has 3 seasons of experience and has never missed a game or start due to injury. Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is familiar with Blalock from his time as the team’s offensive coordinator and you wonder if Musgrave has any interest. A second-round pick in 2007, he represents a good long-term starting option for teams looking to infuse their depth chart with competition and depth. He’s also a good fit in Minnesota because he has the size and athleticism to backup both OTs.
OT Jared Gaither (Reportedly signed with Raiders) –A mammoth OT at 6-9, 340 pounds, Gaither is a great option for a team looking for that franchise-caliber LT. But as of this moment, that’s not the Vikings. Let’s move on.
RT Tyson Clabo (Re-signed by Atlanta) –A six-year veteran with Denver and Atlanta, Clabo has prototypical size at 6-6, 331 pounds and he’s a durable player. I’m guessing he’ll re-sign in Atlanta, plus he’s another starting-caliber OT. We’ll move down the list.
RG Harvey Dahl (Atlanta) –Another guy with whom Musgrave is familiar from their time together in Atlanta, Dahl plays OG and stands at 6-5, 305 pounds. He’s 30 years old and is a six-year veteran. Dahl played in all 16 games in 2010 and 2008, but an ankle kept him out of five games in 2009. He’s a more likely signing than Clabo and Blalock, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Vikings in the mix for any of the three. Dahl would compete with Anthony Herrera for playing time and if not a starter he’d be a primary backup all along the offensive line.
OT Jammal Brown (Washington) – At two-time Pro Bowler who has been with the New Orleans Saints and most recently the Washington Redskins, Brown stands at 6-6, 313 pounds and plays RT. Again, not a position of need for the Vikings.
Already off the market: OL Daryn Colledge, OT Jermon Bushrod, OG Marshall Yanda, OT Doug Free and OG Robert Gallery
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