The Vikings have made official the signing of free agent OL Geoff Schwartz, adding the versatile 5th-year pro to an offensive line that is getting younger this offseason. The move reunites Schwartz with Vikings OL coach Jeff Davidson, who was the Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator from 2007-10 when Schwartz was drafted by the Panthers in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Oregon.
The Vikings released veteran OGs Anthony Herrera and Steve Hutchinson earlier this month, and they appear committed to getting younger along the offensive line while also adding competition at the same time. Schwartz will turn 26 in July and has played in 32 games with 19 starts in his career. He’s dealt with injuries since entering the NFL, with his 32 games played and 19 starts coming over just 2 seasons. He is listed as appearing in no games in 2008 (his rookie season) and in 2011.
Following the release of Herrera and Hutchinson, I proposed an economical, long-term plan for the offensive line that included drafting Matt Kalil at #3, moving Charlie Johnson to LG and then holding competition for the starting RG spot between veteran Joe Berger and youngster Brandon Fusco, along with Chris DeGeare and any other future draft picks joining the competition. That plan would produce plenty of competition for at least one starting spot – RG – and could also open competition at LG should one of the youngsters push Johnson for playing time.
The Vikings decision to sign Schwartz only increases the competition for playing time. One could argue that if the Vikings had to play a game today, Schwartz would be the starter at one of the guard positions, or event perhaps at LT. But the Vikings don’t have to play a game today, and won’t play a game for another 4.5 months. In the meantime, Schwartz and the rest of his new offensive line teammates will go through a robust competition for playing time.
Tags: Geoff Schwartz, Jeff Davidson
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