Minnesota Vikings How to Fix the Offensive Line: Part 2

 

In this final write-up for how the Vikings can try to fix the Offensive Line, we will explore some possible trade scenarios (Some realistic and some not so much (*evil laugh*). I will also be talking about some early draft prospects to keep an eye on as we head into the offseason and the draft talk will be in full swing.

First, we’ll explore some trade options I believe this team could make this offseason. I explored current contract, age and other situations as to why the Vikings should explore these names in the trade market.

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Potential trade options

One thing I believe the team should seriously consider doing this offseason, is calling around the league and seeing if there are possible trades for an Offensive Lineman. With the free agent names available being pretty underwhelming as a whole, looking at possible trades might be the way to go. I’ve outlined a few names I believe should be considered. Each name comes with a variety of reasons.

Michael Schofield – Chargers

They should be getting back a healthy Forrest Lamp in 2019. Schofield’s ability to play multiple positions is extremely important here as well. The Vikings have explored acquiring him in previous seasons. He has been the starting RG for the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2018 season. He likely wouldn’t cost much in terms of draft picks to acquire.

2019 Cap Hit: $3.25M

Potential compensation: 6th Round pick

Marshal Yanda – Ravens

He’ll be 34 and has a $10M cap hit for next season, but he’s arguably the best RG in all of football.

12-31-15 yanda team MVP

 

I believe this will be a tough get, but with his contract expiring after ’19 and aging, the Ravens may be willing to part with him for the right price.

2019 Cap Hit: $10.125M

Potential compensation: 3rd Round pick

 

 

Kelechi Osemele – Raiders 

Having a down year in 2018, a Head Coach who has shown a willingness to trade talent for draft capital, Osemele might be a trade target for the Vikings. We know they explored the idea of signing him a few years back in Free Agency, but got priced out by the Raiders, and in turn signed Alex Boone for less (Who was cut a year later).

2019 Cap Hit: $10.5M

Potential compensation: 4th or 5th Round pick

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Joe Thuney – Patriots

This one’s more of a pipe-dream, but with Thuney heading into 2019 in a contract year, and as one of the better LGs in the NFL, will the Patriots pay up or would they be willing to trade him away for a nice draft pick? With his contract being so cheap in 2019, Thuney the Patriots would likely be asking for quite a bit in return.

2019 Cap Hit: $10.5M

Potential compensation: 2nd Round pick

 

Forrest Lamp – Chargers

His teammate, Michael Schofield is on this list as well. Lamp was a 2nd round draft pick in the ’17 draft, but after tearing his ACL as a rookie, he’s watched from the bench as Schofield has started over him this season. Maybe the Chargers want to keep Schofield as their RG of the future, and may be open to trading the young lineman. If so, the Vikings should jump all over it.

2019 Cap Hit: $1.18M

Potential compensation: 3rd Round pick

 

Evan Smith – Buccaneers

Smith was a name I had listed during training camp as a trade possibility for the Vikings after Nick Easton went down for the year. He’s a veteran player with Guard/Center flexibility and a team-friendly contract. He was placed on Injured Reserve in Mid-November this year with a hip injury. He’s a possible cut candidate this offseason as well, so keep an eye on that. But, he could fill that veteran, do-it-all interior Offensive Lineman this team is in desperate need of at the interior line positions.

2019 Cap Hit: $2M

Potential compensation: 7th Round pick

 

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NFL Draft

 

There’s no doubt in my mind this team will look to address the Offensive Line position early in the 2019 NFL Draft. With it looking like the Vikings should have the 18th pick, they should have plenty of options, if they choose to take a lineman in Round 1. Let’s take an early look at some names to keep an eye on.

 

Chris Lindstrom – Boston College (Guard)

Although he may not be a perfect fit in a zone-running scheme, one thing he does well is move people in the run game. This team wants to run the ball, and someone like Lindstrom could come in and help them do just that.

Draft projection: 2nd Round

 

Dalton Risner – Kansas State (Guard/Tackle)

         One player I guarantee the Vikings will like during the draft process is Kansas State Guard/Tackle, Dalton Risner. His position flexibility, athleticism and mauler mentality, he’d be a perfect fit for this offense. And, if the team wanted to slide Right Tackle Brian O’Neill over to the left side (I do not recommend, and do expect Reiff to be back in 2019), Risner could step in at Right Tackle, or he could be your Day 1 Right Guard.

Draft projection: Mid to late 1st Round

 

Yodny Cajuste – West Virginia (Tackle)

         Cajuste does have some injury concerns, but healthy, this guy’s in the conversation for the top Left Tackle in the draft. He could be the future at the position for this team, and if the team chose to move on from Reiff, could even start as a rookie. Cajuste should be a late Day 1 or early Day 2 pick come April.

Draft projection: Late 1st to Early 2nd Round

 

Cody Ford – Oklahoma (Guard/Tackle)

         Similar to Risner, Cody Ford has the ability to play either Guard or Tackle at the next level. He truly can play both, because he has the athleticism at Tackle and get out in space, while having the size and strength to move inside and play Guard. He should be another player the Vikings will be high on during the draft process. He’s a plug and play starter Day 1.

Draft projection: Mid to late 1st Round

 

Michael Jordan – Ohio State (Guard/Center)

Still undecided as of December 31, as to whether or not he’ll declare. Michael Jordan (Insert basketball joke) is another player with position flexibility, and can play both Guard and Center. He has a big frame and good anchor, but needs a lot of work on his footwork and steps. If he does declare, he could be a nice pickup for this team, but may not be ready to be a Day 1 contributor.

Draft projection: 3rd Round

 

At the end of the day, we know one of the biggest issues hindering this offense is figuring out how to fix the Offensive Line. They’ve made a lot of moves recently, but most of them have not worked out well to date. They’ll need to start by identifying who their Offensive Line coach will be, then work with their Offensive Coordinator (My money is on Kevin Stefanski) on identifying names in free agency, possible trades and the draft that fit the style of offense you want to run heading into the 2019 season.

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